Rogue Landlords, Fees And New Housing Court For Private Rentals
Sajid Javid the Communities Secretary released details of the party’s new plans to give private rentals greater protection against rip off fees from Agents and Landlords, prior to his speech yesterday at the Conservative party annual conference.
As part of the plans he disclosed that that the party will be undertaking discussions with the judiciary about introducing a new Housing Court where tenants can challenge their landlords for a ‘faster, more effective justice’ which will give tenants confidence ‘ with the power to put it right’.
Mr. Javid also revealed that new regulations will force every landlord to join an ombudsman redress scheme; this will allow private renters to ‘air’ any grievances of bad management and exorbitant fees.
Letting agents will also be affected by changes as the government intends to pass new laws to make it compulsory for all agents to become registered, and those who are not qualified to act as agents will be barred from the sector.
Mr. Javid also announced that in the next Budget incentives will be offered to make sure that landlords offer tenancies of at least twelve months to help tenants.
The new measures may be seen as the party’s reaction to Jeremy Corbyn’s flagship speech at the Labour Party’s annual conference. He made promises that when in power the party will reform the housing market and introduce rent controls which will bring about a ‘renting revolution’.
Mr. Javid, prior to his Conservative Party conference speech on Sunday, said: “For too long, tenants have felt unable to resolve the issues they’ve faced, be it insecure tenure, unfair letting agents’ fees or poor treatment by their landlord with little to no means of redress. We’re going to change that.
“We will insist that all landlords are part of a redress scheme and we will regulate letting agents who want to operate.
“Everyone has a right to feel safe and secure in their own homes and we will make sure they do.”
Currently the private rented sector provides approximately 20% of all homes with 4.5 million households across the UK.
The government has come under increasing pressure to alleviate the housing crisis and after the Grenfell Tower tragedy it announced a full scale review into social housing.
Richard Merrick of PIMS said: “The intended plans do make sense to improve standards of a very small minority of ‘rogue’ landlords. The government has been called to tackle the housing crisis; however it has increasingly targeted the private rented sector with tax changes even though it accounts for one fifth of all homes.
“We do have reservations about the new Housing Court only because of the ‘career rent criminals’ who know every trick in the book and will certainly take advantage of the new system.”