Government supports CIEH’s tireless campaign for a commitment to improved housing standards, but Dr Phil James calls for more detail on how CIEH members will be supported to enforce new minimum standard for privately rented homes
‘A step in the right direction’ is how CIEH described the Government’s commitment to improving housing standards and the introduction of a national register for landlords. The proposals were among many included in a White Paper on ‘Levelling Up’ published on February 2nd, 2022.
The measures include a promise to consult on introducing a landlord register and plans for a crackdown on rogue landlords. Furthermore, all homes in the private rented sector will have to meet a Decent Homes Standard, which currently only applies to the social rented sector.
There is also confirmation that Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction will be abolished. Currently, private landlords can repossess their properties from assured shorthold tenants without having to establish fault on the part of the tenant. Research also suggests that tenants are reluctant to exercise their rights to secure repairs and/or challenge rent increases due to the ease with which landlords can evict them.
The White Paper also includes a commitment to the new Social Housing Regulation Bill, which will deliver upon the commitments the Government made following the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire.
CIEH has campaigned for a commitment to better housing standards and welcomed the measures outlined in the White Paper. Dr Phil James, Chief Executive, CIEH said: “There are a number of announcements that we are pleased to see, most notably the Government outlining its support for our campaign for a national register of landlords.
“Introducing a national landlord register is a no-brainer. We are pleased the Government has finally taken a step in the right direction by accepting this necessity and committing to a consultation on this issue.”
“Poor-quality housing can put tenants’ lives at risk. Local authorities, tenants and central government all need a better idea of where privately rented properties are located, whether the properties meet basic safety checks and who manages them. Introducing a national landlord register is a no-brainer. We are pleased the Government has finally taken a step in the right direction by accepting this necessity and committing to a consultation on this issue.”
He added that a new minimum standard for privately rented homes is also welcome, but only if the standards are ambitious and enforceable for local authorities. “We need to see more detail on how the Government sets this minimum standard and how local authorities, and our members, will be supported to enforce it,” he said.
Other measures outlined in the White Paper include longer-term announcements aimed at fighting health inequalities and reducing air pollution and carbon emissions. The White Paper will also take forward recommendations from Henry Dimbleby’s review towards a National Food Strategy as well as pilot the Community Eat Well Programme, enabling GPs to prescribe exercise and healthy food.
Dr James said: “These are a positive package of measures covering some of the key areas CIEH has been campaigning on. We look forward to continuing to work with government at all levels to bring them to fruition.”
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