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‘Measures will deliver fairer private rental reforms for both tenants and landlords’

In his weekly column, North West Norfolk MP James Wild discusses private rental reforms...

This week in Parliament I backed measures to deliver fairer private rental reforms for both tenants and landlords. The changes are important for North West Norfolk where around 20 per cent of households rent privately and this sector makes up an important part of the housing market.

A key part of the legislation is to deliver the Conservative Party manifesto commitment to end no-fault evictions to give renters greater security of tenancy and protection. There is evidence that tenants are reluctant to complain about the state of the property or high rents due to worries they would be evicted if they did.

MP James Wild
MP James Wild

A number of concerns about the potential impact of these changes have been raised with me by landlords who play a vital role in providing accommodation. Some warned that they may exit the rental market due to uncertainty about being able to get a property back which would mean fewer places to rent being available locally. To address these legitimate points the Bill gives landlords stronger grounds for possession - ensuring they can still recover their property and making it easier to repossess properties when tenants are at fault.

So, there will be additional mandatory grounds for recovery of a property for example for repeated serious rent arrears as well as making it easier to evict anti-social tenants. In addition, the legislation expands the grounds for when close family members wish to move in or if landlords wish to sell the property.

Other measures to give greater protections for tenants in the private rented sector include ensuring they can challenge excessively above-market rents increases. These can be used by unscrupulous landlords to force out tenants and instead they will be able to appeal them to an independent tribunal to providing fair, impartial, and binding resolution.

Pets are important to manyfamilies and tenants will be able to ask to have a pet in the property. Landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse such a request. However, they will be able to require pet insurance is taken out to cover any damage to their property. Again, that is a balanced approach reflecting the interests of both parties.

Reforming the privately rented market is part of the government’s commitment to an effective housing market. Another element that I discussed with the Chancellor ahead of his Autumn Statement was increased support for first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder. Over 370,000 people bought their first home last year and during our conversation, I encouraged him to look at a renewed Help to Buy ISA for mortgage deposits to help people save.

One of the challenges locally is long-term rental properties becoming short-term holiday lets and the government has consulted on potential planning changes to help ensure a mixture of tenures are available.

A healthy private rental sector is essential to allow people to live in a decent, affordable home. The reforms brought forward by this government will help to create a fairer market for people renting and for landlords.

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