28 NOV 2018
Thank you for taking the time to email me about support for private renters.
I know that housing remains a key issue for South Devon and that relatively low wages to high house prices leave too many people with no option but private rented accommodation. We not only need to help more individuals and families own their own home but also make sure there are better protections for tenants to feel more secure. Our current system is heavily weighted in favour of landlords and I am pleased that the government is taking action to address this imbalance.
I hope the following information on this topic from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is reassuring:
Action is being taken to help the 4.7 million households in the private rented sector by protecting them from rogue landlords, banning unfair fees, and ensuring they have access to longer-term tenancies.
While rogue landlords account for a minority of private rented sector proprietors, Government action to put dodgy rogue landlords on notice is welcomed. In April, a national database of rogue landlords was brought in, with landlords convicted of a range of criminal offences to be included so that councils can keep a closer eye on those with a poor track record. Furthermore, landlords convicted of offences under the government's new law may also be given banning orders preventing them from leasing accommodation for a period of time, ranging from 12 months to life.
The landmark Tenants Fee Bill, currently being considered by Parliament, will ban letting agent fees and cap tenancy deposits at six weeks' rent. This will make renting fairer and more affordable for tenants by reducing costs and improving transparency at the outset of a tenancy. The Bill is expected to save tenants between £25 and £70 a year.
The Government has also taken steps to improve private renters' access to longer-term, family-friendly tenancies, publishing a Model Tenancy Agreement which landlords and tenants can use as the basis for longer tenancies. The Government is currently consulting on proposals to introduce minimum three-year tenancy agreements to help to provide certainty and stability to renters in the private sector.
On the specific issue of Section 21 evictions, landlords may only evict a tenant outside of a fixed term period after complying with certain legal obligations. This includes protecting their tenants' deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme.
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