St Mungo’s responds to renters reform legislation proposals

Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has welcomed Government’s plans to give people who rent their homes more powers and protections.

Ministers say the new policies, detailed in a new white paper entitled “A Fairer Private Rented Sector”  which has been published today 16 June 2022 – will end the injustice of unfit homes and help protect renters from rising cost of living.

The white paper details plans to:

  • End section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions and extend the Decent Homes Standard to the sector
  • End arbitrary rent review clauses, and give tenants stronger powers to challenge poor practice, unjustified rent increases and enable them to be repaid rent for non-decent homes
  • Make it illegal for landlords or agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits
  • Make it easier for tenants to rent if they have pets

St Mungo’s Interim Chief Executive Rebecca Sycamore said: “We have been strong advocates for reform of the private rented housing sector as many of our clients will move into private rented accommodation as part of their recovery journey.

“And many of our clients have experienced homelessness after being evicted from private rented accommodation, so reforming the sector is a positive step towards ending homelessness.

“It is vital that everyone is able to access good quality, affordable accommodation and has the confidence that there is no imbalance of power between them and their landlord.

“St Mungo’s supported the Kerslake Commission’s recommendations to end Section 21 evictions and the need to improve the quality of private rented accommodation, as well as its work highlighting the stigma and discrimination people receiving benefits can face when trying to secure private rented accommodation.  We are pleased to see that the Government has listened to us, and other experts in the sector and has committed to addressing these issues.

“It is now important that the legislative process moves on quickly so these plans can become a reality as soon as possible.”

Measures published today also include:

  • Doubling notice periods for rent increases and giving tenants stronger powers to challenge them if they are unjustified
  • Giving councils stronger powers to tackle the worst offenders, backed by enforcement pilots, and increasing fines for serious offences, and
  • The creation of a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman to enable disputes between private renters and landlords to be settled quickly, at low cost, and without going to court

White papers are policy documents published by the Government which set out its proposals for future legislation.

They can provide a basis for further consultation to allow for changes to be made before a Bill is formally presented to Parliament, however the Government has not indicated that it intends to open a consultation on this paper.

The Kerslake Commission will be publishing its next report in the autumn.