England announces landlord registration scheme

The introduction of a landlord registration scheme follows a sustained campaign for greater transparency by CIEH
26 May 2022 , Katie Coyne

CIEH has welcomed news that Westminster plans to introduce landlord registration for England, bringing it in line with the devolved nations, which already have similar schemes in place.

The scheme was announced in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month, as part of The Renters Reform Deal. It is being called a “property portal”. The speech was delivered by Prince Charles, standing in for The Queen.

The deal also reconfirmed a previous pledge to scrap the no-fault, section 21 evictions, and the introduction of a new private rental sector (PRS) Ombudsman for England. It will also apply, for the first time, the Decent Homes Standard to the PRS, currently applicable to social housing, and improve standards in the sector.

CIEH has been campaigning for a landlord registration scheme for some years arguing that it would help create transparency. It is part of the Renters Reform Coalition, made up of 20 organisations representing private renters, calling for a national landlord register.

CIEH research into related licensing schemes, which also gather landlord information in one place, found communications between local authorities and landlords improved as a result.

However, Tamara Sandoul, CIEH Policy and Campaigns Manager added: “While this is a major step forward to better regulation of the private rented sector, the new property portal will need to be accompanied by support for local authorities and environmental health teams working hard to ensure housing standards are maintained. Better funding, tools and guidance from central government will be key to ensuring the portal is a success and achieves its full potential.

“We also welcome the introduction of one overarching standard to bring all rented property up to the same decent standard. However, there is still significant work to do to ensure that the new Decent Homes Standard is enforceable in the private rented sector. We look forward to working with the Government in the coming months to ensure the detail is right.”

“We are painfully aware that words only count for so much. What we need is the White Paper, and then the Bill itself”.

Campaign Group, Generation Rent also welcomed the announcement with some caveats. It noted this is the third Queen’s Speech that offered a better deal for renters, and Westminster had promised to scrap Section 21 evictions back in 2019 in its election manifesto.

“So we are painfully aware that words only count for so much,” said Dan Wilson Craw, Deputy Director, Generation Rent. “What we need is the White Paper, which will flesh out the above policies, and then the Bill itself.”

Alongside scrapping Section 21, the Government plans on making it easier for landlords with legitimate reasons for eviction to get their properties back but Generation Rent is concerned this may mean more renters will be made homeless without having a chance to resolve their rent arrears.

Generation Rent also wanted to see landlords pay for tenant moving costs if they wished to sell or move back into the property, as well as the introduction of a “lifetime deposit”.

Homeless charity, Shelter is urging the Government to scrap Section 21 imminently as its latest research has found no-fault eviction court proceedings are up 41% on pre-pandemic levels.

The charity has also updated its figures on the average cost of moving home in the PRS to £1,650.

 

Image credit: Shutterstock

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