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News & opinion

17 JUN 2022

RICS response to the Renters Reform White Paper

The Renters Reform White Paper will likely be warmly welcomed by many tenants in the private rented sector in England, as it offers significant new protections for tenants including the ending of arbitrary rent review clauses, the abolition of section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and the commitment to improving the quality of homes.

RICS strongly supports the proposed application of the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector. We recognise that this will help to ensure that far more tenants are living in good-quality homes – an ambition that is arguably an integral feature of the government’s wider levelling up agenda.

In order to ensure that this policy best serves the interests of the private rented sector as a whole, it is important that the government gives due consideration to the potential wider implications when finalising this policy’s implementation. It is especially important that the application of the Decent Homes Standard does not inadvertently lead to more landlords exiting the market and thereby depleting the number of privately rented homes available for tenants in the future.

In addition, recent data from the RICS Residential Market Survey shows that we are facing issues of a lack of supply coupled with high levels of demand in the private rented sector across the country, leading to increases in rents for already hard-pressed tenants. It is important that the application of the Decent Homes Standard does not further exacerbate problems around affordability for tenants, especially for those at the lower end of the market who have fewer options available to them.

We note that the Government has stated in the White Paper that they will consult on this in due course, which should ensure that the best interests of the private rented sector as a whole can be properly considered. We would be happy to share the expertise of our members and engage with the Government on this consultation.

The introduction of a new Property Portal for landlords as set out in the White Paper could be beneficial in helping landlords to understand the new measures and address concerns s about what would be legally required of them.

RICS welcomes the commitment made by Government in the White Paper to raise professionalism and standards for letting agents and property agents. We will continue to engage with Government on an overarching code of practice for property agents and a code for block managers.