Are Landlords and Property Investors Truly Assured That The White Paper Will Make “A Fairer Private Rented Sector”? Part 2

Brett Alegre-wood
August 2, 2022

In Part 1, we shared a short and digestible summary of the first six points of the white paper released by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) on 16 June 2022. 

Titled, "A Fairer Private Rented Sector", this white paper is part of the government’s bigger plans through DLUHC for establishing standards in the rental marketplace (or, Private Rented Sector) and, essentially, "fundamentally reform the private rented sector and level up housing quality in this country". 

In Part 1 of our feature on the Landlord and Tenant (Reform) Bill, aka, the Renters Reform Bill based on the summary made by the highly respected Dentons, we presented a concise but succinct overview of what the white paper presents and its effects to you, landlords and property investors.

We’ve referred to Dentons, one of the more reliable sources for help with understanding this white paper. This is Part 2 and presents the next six points of the white paper. 

landlord

Providing A More Efficient Court Process

This point is closely connected to the proposed new ombudsman for the private rented marketplace and will be set in place in areas where there are many delays in the court process by helping with mediation and dispute resolution. 

The goal of this new rule is to enable landlords and tenants to work together on resolving issues rather than see these escalate and worsen. By offering to help landlords and tenants at the early stages of any issue or conflict the government hopes to resolve them immediately, avoid court proceedings, and prevent evictions if unnecessary. 

Introducing A New Digital Property Portal

The white paper also proposes an online property portal that’s intended to register landlord and property investor properties in one database. 

How will this new portal help landlords and property investors? Well, first, the portal is intended to help you with the completion of all legal requirements and compliance that you need to undertake for your property (or properties). 

In line with that, it’s a mandatory ledger of all your residential properties that will be made available to the public (and registration is mandatory). 

That means, prospective tenants can have a look at your property, your compliance, and your property’s records, and have an idea of what they’re renting into.

This also means that local authorities will have access to more information to track down and catch rogue landlords. 

Is this positive or negative for landlords and property investors? A bit of both, really. 

This Property Portal is intended to support the other rules and reforms in the white paper. Its goal is to provide transparency to tenants and local councils. Doing so will help identify which ones are the good landlords and property investors and which ones are delinquent and bad. 

Strengthening Enforcement Powers For Local Councils

The white paper also states that the enforcement and investigative powers of local councils will be expanded and strengthened to allow them to go after delinquent and criminal landlords. 

Consequently, the fines for offences committed by these landlords will also be increased and codified. 

No Blanket Bans

Additionally, the white paper is also pushing for blanket bans to be made illegal. Blanket bans, in this case, mean that landlords and letting agents cannot discriminate against families with children, tenants renting on benefits, vulnerable groups, and other circumstances that the prospective tenants may be dealing with. 

To balance this new rule is a proposal to improve support for landlords and property investors who rent out their property to people living on benefits (although this should not be equated with social housing). 

Pets And Decoration

Similar to making the blanket ban illegal, two proposed rules have also been added to let tenants have pets and allow them to redecorate. 

The intention behind these is to ask for leniency on the part of the landlords that they may give consent to having pets on the property while the tenant is renting there. The rule also seeks to amend the Tenant Fees Act 2019 to include pet insurance as part of the rental payment to cover any damages to the property resulting from having a pet live on the premises. 

The second is to allow tenants a certain leeway on making their home more liveable and personal to them while they are renting, like redecorating or painting, hanging pictures, and changing appliances, among other things. However, tenants are expected to return the property to its original state when they leave. 

Passport Deposits

Another rule that will be removed or excluded in the reform will be Passport Deposits (also known as “rental deposit passports,” “deposit passports,” and “lifetime deposits”). 

Instead, the government will develop solutions to help tenants struggling to raise the deposit money needed to move to another rental property. 

The long-term goal of this rule is to support tenants in choosing the properties they want to move into, and in their plans to save money for future home ownership. 

Landlord Legal Court Possession

And there you have it: all twelve points of the Renters Reform Bill which is expected to be addressed in the next parliamentary session. 

What do you think of these new rules? Do you think they are restrictive, skewed more towards tenants, or all in all, a very balanced reform of the current bill that’s long needed to be revised? 

If you have any more questions about the DLUHC’s white paper, and how it will affect your current property investments or new property investments, let’s talk. Book a chat with us today or call us on 02079236100 and let us know how we can help.


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