The long-awaited Housing White Paper was released to the public on 7 February by the Department for Communities and Local Government. This brief summary focuses only some of the key issues for the private rented sector.
In the foreword, Prime Minister Theresa May reiterates that one of the greatest barriers to building a stronger Britain is the broken housing market. She went on to explain that by building more homes, prices on houses will fall which again will result in a reduction on rent levels for rented property.
The Government confirms its intention to ban agent fees and hope to bring forward legislation “as soon as Parliamentary time allows”. It also wants to continue building on existing incentives in order to attract major institutional investment in new large-scale housing which is purpose-built for market rent. For these types of build, the Government will work with other organisations to actively promote and encourage three-year tenancies. It will also look closer at how to encourage longer tenancies in private rented property.
Banning orders to remove rogue landlords will be introduced as suggested in the Housing and Planning Act 2016. Other potential measures under consideration are mandatory electrical checks, client money protection for letting agents and extending mandatory licensing of HMOs. Many of the suggested changes are not really new to the private sector and we will have to await the outcome of the consultation and further legislation. The paper, ‘Fixing our broken housing market’, can be found at bit.ly/HousingWhitePaper2017