Rental professionals face a further wait for the government’s rental reform White Paper, which was until now scheduled for this autumn.
At the Conservative Party conference earlier this month, housing and homelessness minister Eddie Hughes said that politicians were still meeting with stakeholders before putting together their recommendations.
Some agents and landlords may welcome the cautious approach. Hughes said that, by reaching out to the industry, the government hoped to avoid unintended consequences – including driving landlords out of the market.
But the industry has already been waiting for some time. The consultation began in April 2019, and a Renters’ Reform Bill was first announced in the Queen’s Speech later that year. However, it was delayed indefinitely last October as the government focused on the COVID-19 response.
Details about the upcoming legislation are also sparse. Previously, politicians have stated that the Renters’ Reform Bill will scrap ‘no-fault’ Section 21 evictions, but Hughes would say only that the government was looking at the issue – and that landlords’ ability to evict tenants is essential.
However, he did confirm that the upcoming legislation would include a system of lifetime deposits for renters. Lifetime deposits have received cautious backing in principle from the National Residential Landlords Association, but industry groups have consistently pointed out that the plan will succeed or fail depending on its final details. Those details now seem unlikely to arrive before next year.
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