Government proposes making it illegal to have blanket bans on renting to people on benefits and those with children

The Renters Reform Bill

Changes put forward to the Renters (Reform) Bill including making it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to people who receive benefits or who have children are being put forward today (15 November).

The Government has tabled amendments to ensure families and benefit recipients aren’t discriminated against when looking for a home to rent.

Landlords will still be able to carry out referencing checks to make sure a tenancy is affordable and have the final say on who they let their property to. This will apply to England and Wales and will be extended to Scotland via a further amendment at Report Stage.

A Decent Homes Standard (DHS) will be applied to the private rented sector for the first time. The new standard will set a clear bar for what tenants should expect from their home ensuring it is safe, warm and decent. It will be set following further consultation and will help to meet the target of reducing non-decency in rented homes by 50% by 2030.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said: “Everyone deserves a home that is safe, warm and decent. But far too many live in conditions that fall well below what is acceptable. As part of our Long-Term Plan for Housing we are improving housing standards across the entire private rented sector, while also ending discrimination against vulnerable people and families who are being unfairly denied access to a home.”

Local Authorities will be given new enforcement powers to require landlords to make properties decent, with fines up to £30,000 or a banning order in the worse cases. Tenants will also be able to claim up to 24 months rent back through rent repayment orders up from 12 previously.

Councils will also be given stronger powers to investigate landlords who rent substandard homes, providing them with the tools they need to identify and take enforcement action against the minority and help drive them out of the sector.

The amendments will now be considered at Committee stage for the Bill in the House of Commons. The government says the changes will support the majority of good landlords by making existing rules clearer and more enforceable.

The wider reforms in the Bill include a ban on ‘no fault’ evictions to protect tenants and give them the security to call out poor standards without fear of losing their home. It also gives tenants a legal right to ask for a pet and creates a new Ombudsman to resolve issues with their landlords more quickly.

What is The Renters Reform Bill and will it work for tenants and landlords?

10 Comments

  1. Shows you how broken this country is under the Tories, how is it not illegal already to refuse rental to persons on benefits with or without kids and pets. The landlord will get the rent direct from government department responsible.

    • The social sector has evicted more people than the private sector over the last 20 years. Where do those that are made homeless in this manner to go? If nothing else it sometimes helps if you at least look outside of the closed arena of ideological opinion.

  2. The reason landlords are generally reluctant to take those on benefits is one of affordability, local housing allowance is currently frozen and way short of what rents now are.
    Then the majority of benefit dependent applicants are unable to provide a guarantor and rarely pass referencing. Most of this applies to those wholly on benefits , there are large numbers of people on in work benefits and they are much more likely to get a tenancy.
    As for pets, in my experience the vast majority of pet owners are hardly responsible , with cats it’s fleas ,scratching, and litter trays , with dogs it’s barking and smell. The majority of landlords letting flats won’t accept pets as it’s a nightmare. Those that let houses sometimes prefer tenants with pets as they tend to stay longterm.
    Personally i don’t know any landlords that refuse to have children, but if you have a high spec luxury finish you may not wish to have kids trashing it, also if your neighbours ( especially in flats) are older and have no kids of their own it makes sense to try and find similar tenants.
    No problem with creating new standards for rented property the vast majority will already be up to standard ( or was until the tenant neglected it) councils already know the poor quality property but choose often to do nothing , this is usually because the council doesn’t want the tenants if they become homeless as a result of an improvement order needing a vacant property for repairs to be made.
    Of course none of this is new , but it’s politically convenient to play to the crowd. Last but not least , how many tenants have been killed by failings of private landlords in comparison to social landlords? You sometimes have to wonder why it’s not the social sector that’s being reformed. Hopefully social housing tenants will be encouraged to take action against their landlords and said landlords being taken to court. Rarely happens now as the councils are the usual prosecuting authority and so can’t act against themselves and will almost never take action against another social provider.

    • From another source

      Between 2016 and 2021 there were, wait for it, 24 prosecutions (Not convictions) per year on average for illegal eviction in the UK. In 2020 the conviction number was 12…Statistically its almost non prosecutable and the true rogues know it.

      On that basis you’d have to think there really isn’t a problem or that councils turn a blind eye. It has to be remembered there are around 4 million privately rented properties so the prosecution rate is around 0.0006% which is about half the UK’s murder rate in 2022. Society obviously sees murder as being less important than illegal eviction, which seems a bit odd. Especially given that the ONS describes the murder rate as very low in comparison to other crimes.

    • A lot will, supply will shrink and rents will rise , eventually a government will either have to accept that destroying the private rented sector does nothing for those that rent.
      It’d be much better if there was a commitment to build8ng more homes ( but of course the nimbys soon start whining , as witnessed in articles on here), endless provision of social housing is never going to work as it just creates never ending demand and is an incredibly expensive way of housing people, as TDC is going to discover if it keeps insisting on providing social housing to be rented at LHA rates and which won’t wash its face for 18 years ( a financial disaster in the making , unless the incoming Labour government provides more funding , but that just levels down everyone else under the tax burden).

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