Protections for families and crack down on rogue landlords
Private landlords banned from having ‘no DSS’ and ‘no children’ policies and Decent Homes Standard introduced in the private rented sector for the first time
Changes put forward to the Renters (Reform) Bill to crack down on rogue landlords, protect vulnerable residents and improve the decency and safety of homes for millions of tenants are being introduced today (15 November).
The Government has tabled amendments to make it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to people who receive benefits or who have children – ensuring families aren’t discriminated against when looking for a home to rent and protecting the most vulnerable. Landlords will still be able to carry out referencing checks to make sure a tenancy is affordable and have the final say on who they let their property to. This will apply to England and Wales and will be extended to Scotland via a further amendment at Report Stage.
Alongside this, a Decent Homes Standard (DHS) will be applied to the private rented sector for the first time. The new standard will set a clear bar for what tenants should expect from their home ensuring it is safe, warm and decent. It will be set following further consultation and will help to meet the target of reducing non-decency in rented homes by 50% by 2030.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove said:
"Everyone deserves a home that is safe, warm and decent. But far too many live in conditions that fall well below what is acceptable. As part of our Long-Term Plan for Housing we are improving housing standards across the entire private rented sector, while also ending discrimination against vulnerable people and families who are being unfairly denied access to a home."
Local Authorities will be given new enforcement powers to require landlords to make properties decent, with fines up to £30,000 or a banning order in the worse cases. Tenants will also be able to claim up to 24 months rent back through rent repayment orders up from 12 previously.
Councils will also be given stronger powers to investigate landlords who rent substandard homes, providing them with the tools they need to identify and take enforcement action against the criminal minority and help drive them out of the sector.
The amendments will now be considered at Committee stage for the Bill in the House of Commons and are a vital next step in delivering a fairer system for both tenants and landlords. The changes will support the majority of good landlords by making existing rules clearer and more enforceable.
The wider reforms in the Bill are a once-in-a-generation change to housing laws to ensure the 11 million tenants across England will benefit from safer, fairer and higher quality homes. This includes a ban on ‘no fault’ evictions to protect tenants and give them the security to call out poor standards without fear of losing their home. It also gives tenants a legal right to ask for a pet and creates a new Ombudsman to resolve issues with their landlords more quickly.
The reforms are part of the Government’s long-term plan for housing that includes speeding up the planning system and reducing delays to ensure we can build the homes that communities want and need.