Yesterday’s Queen’s Speech and State Opening of Parliament unveiled 38 bills the government intends to bring forward during this parliamentary session. References to reform of the private rented sector in the speech itself were brief, but media is reporting that plans for a renters reform bill will evolve during this session.
Specific PRS legislation reportedly includes an end to Section 21 evictions, a new ombudsman for landlords, wider tenant protections and more powers for landlords in dealing with arrears.
Reflecting on the government’s future plans for PRs reform, Isobel Thomson, safeagent’s chief executive, says:
“More than anything, I hope the private rented sector reforms referenced in the Queen’s Speech will help find common ground.
“Too often, we see tenants, agents, landlords and their representatives at loggerheads over the direction of reform. Surely we can all agree on the goals – providing secure, stable homes and a system that works effectively. Now we have greater clarity on legislative plans, it’s time for the whole sector to come to the table and shape how that will work in practice.
“Without open discussion and collaboration, there is a risk that reform will again fall short. Measures such as removal of Section 21 will only work if they are broadly supported by the sector. We also need to think hard about unintended consequences and make sure that tenants are protected while retaining flexibility for landlords.
“The details of legislation will tell us more, but there’s much we can do now to improve the system – including effective enforcement of existing regulation.
“Our agents can help tenants and landlords understand their rights and responsibilities – only by learning from what already works well can we make informed decisions about how a reformed system should operate.”