The Government has laid out long awaited plans for rental reform in England in the ‘Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper,’ marking a significant step forward in the fight for safe and secure housing for England's renters...
Headline changes include the scrapping of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, bringing the legal standards for private homes in line with the social rented sector, and reforms to the way tenants can challenge unfair practices, and what practices are now considered unfair.
This will come as welcome news for England’s renters, and will be celebrated by those who have been organising to challenge the balance of power in the private rented sector.
After years of campaigning around private rented housing; including physical blockades of evictions, demonstrations outside letting agents to get repairs done, lobbying of local councils for more landlord scrutiny and accountability, and ‘Renters Rallies’ this April in the constituencies of MPs with key housing positions in government; ACORN sees the announcement as a step in the right direction for the renters it represents.
However, we believe bolder measures will need to be taken to address the housing crisis and much more could be done for renters during this difficult time for household finances.
ACORN Head Organiser, Nick Ballard, said “Today marks a victory for organised tenants who have been fighting in their communities and in the corridors of power for decent, dignified and affordable housing for all.
“In the context of this Bill, the housing movement has united together under the banner of the Renters Reform Coalition to present the changes renters need and deserve, and it is great to see that many of these have been acknowledged by DLUHC and appear in this White Paper.
“ACORN welcomes the government's measures set out today but we know that without providing enough money and resources to properly enforce this legislation, it isn’t worth the paper it's written on. If the government is serious about improving tenant’s lives it must come down hard on those landlords who flout the law and subject tenants to misery and worry while lining their pockets.
“We will continue to fight for further protections for tenants against the cost of living crisis and towards a housing sector run for the benefit of everyone. ACORN will continue to fight for rent controls and mass building projects of high quality social housing to truly address the housing crisis.”
In terms of the Renters Reform Bill, ACORN will continue to push on some key policy areas in the White paper that could be improved for tenants - in particular, the union wants to see longer notice periods for tenants to find a new place to live, and for the government to ensure that the new grounds for eviction; such as selling a property or the landlord moving in themselves; will demand a high level of evidence on the part of the landlord so that the system can't be abused.
Watch this space in the coming months, as we will be mobilising members and supporters to ensure this Bill delivers the change England's renters need and deserve.
Renters’ Reform Coalition is made up of 20 leading organisations who represent private renters or cover housing matters in England, including ACORN, Shelter, Citizens’ Advice, the Nationwide Foundation, National Union of Students, and others, to ensure that planned rental reforms truly deliver a more just housing system, a transformation to tenants' lives and our country as we move forward together out of the pandemic. The Renters’ Reform blueprint was launched by the coalition in March 2022, and represents an outline of the Coalition’s policy principles in relation to the Renters’ Reform Bill.