Thank you for writing to me about substandard housing and about better rights for those who rent.
I was proud to be elected on a manifesto which committed to level up every corner of our country, and the Levelling Up White Paper sets out a comprehensive plan to do just that. For too long, success and opportunity have not been equally spread across our country, with many communities overlooked and undervalued. That is why a decade-long project is being introduced to reverse the postcode lottery of chances in the UK.
Everyone wants and deserve a decent place to live and it is good to see that quality and standards are being raised. A review has been launched on the Decent Homes Standard and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has committed to highlighting poor practice by social landlords via social media in a new drive to name and shame those who are failing to deliver good quality services. At the same time, provision of affordable homes is being expanded through the largest investment in such housing in a decade through the £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26.
Standards in rented accommodation will be driven up, including by ensuring all tenants have a right to redress and warranting well-targeted, effective enforcement that drives out any criminal landlords. It is unacceptable that some households that rent privately pay a large proportion of their income to live in poor conditions. I am aware that the Government intends to introduce a legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector for the first time.
In addition, Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will be abolished and a more secure and simple tenancy structure will be brought in. Under the new system, a tenancy will only end if the tenant chooses to leave or if the landlord has a valid ground for possession. Not only will this improve security for tenants and protect them from having to move unexpectedly at short notice, but it will also empower tenants to challenge poor practice without the fear of retaliatory action. Repossession grounds will be strengthened to make sure that landlords with a valid cause can regain possession of their property.
Residents will be able to have their voices heard at the heart of government through a new Resident Panel which will enable them to scrutinise reforms to the social housing sector. An expert group has also been convened to ensure the measures implement long-lasting and meaningful change, and fulfil the vision set out in the Charter.
To further support tenants, the Government will only allow increases to rent once per year and will increase the minimum notice period for rent increases to two months.
Thank you again for writing to me about your concerns. I hope you find this response helpful.
Best of wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking