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Levelling Up White Paper – what does it mean for the PRS?

2nd February 2022

Today, the Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove unveils the Government’s flagship Levelling Up White Paper. This contains 12 ‘Missions’ which will be given legal status in the ‘Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill’. The Mission concerning the PRS says:

The government will announce a plan that for the first time ever, all homes in the Private Rented Sector will have to meet a minimum standard – the Decent Homes Standard. Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will further be abolished, ending the unfair situation where renters can be kicked out of their homes for no reason. We will consult on introducing a landlords register, and will set out plans for a crackdown on rogue landlords – making sure fines and bans stop repeat offenders leaving renters in terrible conditions.

Responding to the announcement, Isobel Thomson, Chief Executive, safeagent said:

“We’re glad that PRS reform is a key part of the levelling up agenda, with the measures having been much trailed over the past few months. Housing shapes everyone’s life and a safe and secure home for tenants – whether in the PRS or the social housing sector – is a must to ensure their security, wellbeing and financial opportunities.

safeagent does not believe there is anything to fear from landlord registration – we only need to look to the devolved nations who have already introduced it and the way in which safeagents have played an integral role.

“With a timescale for implementation of the measures as far away as 2030 though, consumers remain at risk. To make a difference, the crackdown on rogue landlords must be brought in quickly and have real teeth. Fines and bans only work if there is effective enforcement behind them. It is time to stop talking about what has to be done and just get on with it.

“The abolition of Section 21 is finally confirmed in the White Paper, although we will have to wait to see the detail on this. Protections for tenants are important but it remains the majority of tenants who end tenancies, not landlords. Any plans must ensure the system works fairly for both sides and doesn’t lead to more landlords exiting the market.”

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