For many the dream of owning their own home seems further away than ever. So it’s increasingly important that the plight of renters is addressed. In May the Government introduced the Renters (Reform) Bill. There has been growing recognition that Assured Shorthold Tenancies introduced in the 1988 Housing Act and which have become the default position in England and Wales, unfortunately no longer provide long term security of tenure. The 1988 Act also allows landlords to repossess rental properties without the need to establish fault on the part of the tenant. Unsurprisingly tenants are ever more reluctant to ask for repairs or oppose rent increases. And where there is a breakdown in the landlord tenant relationship the only redress is often court.
The Bill makes repossession more difficult but needs to balance the rights of tenants with the need to be able to remove them if they behave anti-socially or repeatedly run up rent arrears. A Property portal makes it easier to share information and enforcement easier and requires landlords to consider a tenant being able to have a pet and make it more difficult to ban benefit claimants or people with children.
Every day 4000 mortgage holders face the cost of higher rates resulting from last years crash. Some people of course choose to be renters, others lose their homes and become renters and many will have no option but to remain renters. Whatever the reason for their situation renters need a fair deal and the Renters (Reform) Bill has someway to go before it rises to the challenge.