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Michael Gove, the UK's Secretary of State for Housing, has met with industry leaders to discuss reforms in the private rental sector (PRS). Gove is keen to make changes that will benefit both tenants and landlords.
The private rental sector has grown significantly in recent years, with more and more people relying on it for housing. However, there are concerns that some landlords are taking advantage of tenants, with issues such as poor living conditions and unfair evictions being reported.
Likewise, landlord groups have a number of concerns about upcoming reforms within the sector, which will have a negative impact on them.
The meeting was attended by ten groups, including the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), The Lettings Industry Council, David Smith from JMW solicitors, the British Property Federation, Generation Rent, Shelter, Citizens Advice, the Local Government Association, the Renters Reform Coalition, and National Housing Federation.
Whilst details of the meeting have been kept confidential, the talks will have covered a range of topics.
One of the key areas likely up for discussion is the issue of evictions.
Currently, landlords can evict tenants without giving a reason, which has led to concerns that some are using this as a way to force tenants out of their homes.
But, by contrast, decent landlords have concerns about the cost and difficulty in pursuing a court-based eviction, if this becomes their only recourse is dealing with problem tenants.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of NRLA, praised the government’s recent announcement to take hard line on anti-social behaviour in tenants and increase the powers available to tackle the issue.
Beadle emphasised the strong messages he conveyed at the meeting with Mr Gove:
“Today’s roundtable follows a one-to-one meeting between Michael Gove and I had last month, where we covered everything from reform to standards and investment.
“The NRLA’s tireless campaigning has already seen significant success, with the announcement that the Government is to take a hard line on anti-social behaviour and increase the powers available to landlords to tackle the issue.
“Ahead of the publication of the Renters’ Reform Bill…we will continue to lobby on behalf of members for positive reform that supports the rights of both landlords and tenants to maintain a robust private sector that works for all.”
The Renters’ Reform Bill, as it is currently known, is set to be introduced in parliament after the King’s coronation next month, it may be renamed to exclude ‘reform’ in its title.