Under government plans, landlords will not be allowed to refuse to rent their apartments to benefit-seekers or families with children.
The Government stated that the changes made to the Renters (Reform) Bill on Wednesday are intended to guarantee that families will not face discrimination and that the weak would be safeguarded.
Landlords will still, however, “have the final say on who they let their property to” and be able to perform reference checks to determine whether rent is affordable.
Additionally, the government has declared that a decent homes standard—which was previously only applicable to social housing—will be established for the first time in the private rental market.
According to the government, the new criteria would make it clearer what tenants could expect from their house and guarantee that “it is safe, warm, and decent.”
After a consultation process, the government will determine the quality requirements for dwellings, with the aim of achieving its target of 50% fewer rental homes with substandard conditions by 2030.
The plan also gives local authorities new enforcement powers to make landlords bring their houses up to code. The worst offenders would face banning orders and fines of up to £30,000.
Tenants will now have an additional year to recover back rent for living in subpar conditions—it was previously only twelve months.
Additionally, councils will receive assistance in strengthening their capacity to look into landlords who rent subpar properties, enabling them to find and prosecute “the criminal minority and help drive them out of the sector.”
According to Housing Secretary Michael Gove, the actions will drastically cut down on the intolerable number of individuals who are currently living in substandard housing.
“As part of our long-term plan for housing, we are ending discrimination against vulnerable people and families who are being unfairly denied access to a home and improving housing standards across the entire private rented sector,” he continued.
The Bill’s changes will now be discussed in the House of Commons committee stage.
A “once-in-a-generation change to housing laws” is how the Bill is described.
It forbids no-fault evictions and establishes a new ombudsman to mediate conflicts between renters and landlords more swiftly.
There have been charges of a lack of urgency in the government’s confirmation that the elimination of no-fault evictions will not occur until justice system changes have been put into place.
Also, the Bill will make it simpler for landlords to reclaim houses where tenants are shown to be engaging in antisocial behavior or have accrued consistent rent arrears by strengthening the criteria under which they might bid to do so.
Speaking about her displeasure at being let go, a housing minister cleared the way for the 16th person to assume the position since 2010.
In Monday’s reshuffle, Conservative MP Rachel Maclean was removed from her position as housing minister and Lee Rowley took her place. Rowley is the 16th individual to occupy the position since 2010.
The timing of the Bill’s revisions was criticized by the advocacy group Renters Reform Coalition, which claimed that disclosing 111 pages of information about the changes while the committee stage was “full swing” undermined examination.
Campaign manager Tom Darling stated: “It’s absurd that politicians and experts will be expected to scrutinize over 100 pages of amendments, with some giving oral evidence as soon as tomorrow. These proposals should have been available to comment on and pore over for weeks.”
“The fact that this is taking place the day after the housing minister was fired and that it’s still unclear which government minister is in charge of this important Bill doesn’t help.”
homeless nonprofit Shelter applauded the changes’ main ideas.
Chief executive Polly Neate said: “Even when people can afford the rent, they’re ending up homeless because of this baseless prejudice.
“Once it becomes illegal, the Government must not let more underhanded forms of discrimination take the place of blanket bans.”