Property Rental Market

Housing, Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th June 2018.

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Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Conservative, Faversham and Mid Kent 12:00 am, 18th June 2018

What steps his Department is taking to make the property rental market fairer and more affordable.

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The Tenant Fees Bill will ban unnecessary fees and cap deposits, making rents fairer and easier for tenants.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Conservative, Faversham and Mid Kent

It is hard to call somewhere home if you might not be living there in three months’ time, and for children, leaving home can also mean leaving school. Will my hon. Friend advise me what he is doing to increase the security of tenancies for people in rental accommodation?

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I certainly recognise my hon. Friend’s concerns. In fact, we will shortly be consulting on the barriers to longer-term tenancies to inform our work and assess what further ways landlords can be supported to offer more secure tenancies.

Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

The legal framework and guidance governing the relationship between lodgers and landlords has not been updated since 2006, pre-dating the growth in online lettings platforms and the affordability crisis, which has led many more people to become both landlords and lodgers. In this relationship, both parties can find themselves vulnerable. The current framework of protection is not fit for purpose. Will the Government take action to bring the framework that governs the relationship between landlords and lodgers up to date?

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I thank the hon. Lady for her question. We keep these matters and the regime under constant review. If she would like to write to me on the specific things that she takes issue with, we will of course look at them.

Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

If the Government are serious about tackling rogue landlords, will the Secretary of State today back Labour’s plans to give local authorities the power to crack down on rogue landlords through private sector licensing, without authorities having to seek permission from central Government?

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

We are introducing the Tenant Fees Bill, which will not just make renting fairer but save tenants an estimated £240 million in its first year. My concern with Labour’s proposals is that Shelter has said that they would hurt some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Photo of Emma Hardy Emma Hardy Labour, Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle

There are 22,000 properties in Hull with a housing, health and social care rating hazard category of 1, the highest hazard rating that there is, and all these properties are in the private rented sector. The cost of repairing and removing these hazards is £23.5 million. Who does the Minister think should pay for that? Does he think it should be councils or private landlords? If he thinks that it should be private landlords, when will he start making it easier for councils to introduce private landlord licensing?

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I thank the hon. Lady for her question. We absolutely think that the onus should be on the landlords. That is why we introduced civil penalties of up to £30,000 on rogue landlords and, in April, we are introducing banning orders and a database of rogue landlords and agents, so that we make sure that we protect tenants in the real world from that kind of abuse.