Thank you to all those who contacted me about rents in the private sector.
Tenants are struggling to cope with rents rising at record rates. In a survey conducted by Generation Rent, 41% said this was their biggest concern in relation to the costs of living. Yet, Housing Benefit is set to remain frozen for the third year in a row, and I worry that many families will have to reduce spending on other necessities such as food or heating to pay their rent.
I have long supported calls for reforms to the private rented sector, but I am concerned Ministers are not acting with the urgency required, despite committing to introducing reforms four years ago. I want to see stronger protections for renters as soon as possible with emergency legislation in the meantime to ban section 21 evictions, which currently allow landlords to evict tenants with little notice and minimal justification.
The Government has said it will introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill “as soon as time allows”. The Bill is expected to include measures to limit rent increases to once a year, end the use of rent review clauses and abolish section 21. Ministers said they do not support rent controls.
I am concerned these proposals will not be enough to address unreasonable rent rises. With the end of section 21, I worry that more tenants will be evicted through unaffordable rent increases instead and I therefore want to see proper action to protect tenants from this.
I support calls for a Renters’ Charter to make renting fairer, including measures to ban section 21 evictions, end automatic evictions for rent arrears, and introduce four month notice periods for landlords. I also support calls for local leaders to be able to request more powers over local housing markets, to ensure decisions are made by people who are directly affected.
In the long-term, I want to see more social homes. There is widespread agreement that we need more social housing to address housing affordability. Yet, the number of social homes has been declining. I support calls for social housing to once again become the second largest form of tenure instead of privately rented homes.