Lettings reform: major announcements soon, says government

News at Astons London | 04/04/2019


A housing minister has pledged that more key reforms for the private rental sector will be revealed soon, despite Brexit political uncertainty gripping the government.

Heather Wheeler MP, addressing the annual conference of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, told delegates that the two most immediate changes to the rental sector - compulsory Client Money Protection membership and the Tenant Fees Act - were just the start of a spring and summer flurry of announcements.

These two measures, she said, would be part of a new regulatory framework currently being devised by the Regulation of Property Agents working party, currently sitting under the leadership of Lord Best.

Wheeler said this would report back to her with recommendations which, she believes, will include “a powerful industry regulator.”

Wheeler added that industry-wide regulation will help put fairness back into the sector, but there is “still a way to go” in raising the standards of rental property, which is why the government is doing more such as introducing mandatory electrical checks and the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.

The delegates also heard the minister give the first details of the review of selective licensing schemes, first pledged in 2015 and eventually launched last October.

The review set out three key questions – how licensing is used, whether it is effective in tackling issues, and whether it has unintended consequences. Wheeler confirmed that the final report on the selective licensing review is due this spring.

Wheeler then discussed the consultation on overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies. 

She said the government’s Call for Evidence on the subject attracted over 8,700 responses with a government response ”in a month or so” and promised that whatever the government’s decision, landlords’ concerns about regaining possession of their property would be considered.

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