Renting Reforms Could Backfire, Warns Cross-Party Group of MPs

A cross-party coalition of MPs and peers has issued a stern warning to the UK government, cautioning against the potential negative consequences of the Renters Reform Bill. In a statement released today, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Private Rented Sector emphasised the need for careful consideration to prevent worsening the existing housing crisis.

The APPG, which represents a diverse range of political perspectives, has called on ministers to engage in a collaborative effort with tenant, landlord, and letting agent groups during the finalisation of the legislative package. Furthermore, it has underscored the urgent requirement for an increase in private rented homes across the country.

The report, which gathered input from various stakeholders including the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), Shelter, and Propertymark, expresses “serious concern” about the ability of local authorities to effectively implement rental reforms without substantial resource allocation.

One recurring theme that emerged from the consultations was the necessity of addressing the issues associated with rogue and criminal landlords. Additionally, the APPG has raised concerns that both tenants and responsible landlords may face difficulties defending their rights in court following the elimination of section 21 evictions and the subsequent surge in contested possession hearings.

Andrew Lewer MP, the Chair of the APPG, highlighted the crucial aspects of the bill. He stressed that the legislation must provide tenants with security, instill confidence in responsible landlords, and eliminate sub-standard housing provided by rogue and criminal landlords. However, he pointed out that none of these objectives can be achieved without robust enforcement of the proposed powers.

Lewer stated, “The government needs to allocate substantial multi-year funding to ensure that councils have the necessary resources to enforce the planned decent homes standard and guarantee the safety and security of all rented homes. It is simply unacceptable that ministers have offered limited details on the improvements to the justice system, leaving many uncertainties about the timing and nature of these changes.”

As the debate over the Renters Reform Bill continues, the government will undoubtedly face increasing pressure to address these concerns and find a balance that protects the interests of both tenants and responsible landlords while tackling issues within the private rented sector. Failure to do so may risk exacerbating the existing housing crisis rather than alleviating it.