Housing Law Reform
Information is gradually filtering through about the current coalition governments intention for housing law reform. Basically they aren’t going to do any!
Grant Shapps said in the House of Commons yesterday :
It is important that we strike the right balance between tenants and landlords. The current legislative framework, which I have been looking at closely, does exactly that. We therefore have no plans to take forward the previous Government’s ideas about further regulatory measures on this subject.
The one thing which will be going ahead is the proposed change of the AST high rent limit to £100,00. This has already been set in motion, has almost universally hailed as a ‘good thing’ and, crucially, will not cost them anything.
- The landlords register proposed by Labour will not now be going ahead. Landlords up and down the country will be cheering at this as the proposal was most unpopular
- Letting agent regulation also will not be going ahead. This is less popular (other than among cowboy letting agents) as regulation of the letting agency industry is something which agent bodies, such as ARLA have been calling for, for some time. Still, there is no doubt that it would have cost at least something, and could have been expensive, so it had to go
- Mandatory tenancy agreements would also have involved a cost as no doubt there would have to have been working parties to consider what if any prescribed terms they should have in them, so that is out of the window also
- The Mumsnet/Tripadvisor website was never seriously on the agenda and unsurprisingly there are no plans to implement this!
- Likewise the tenants advice line, although as has been pointed out, there are already services tenants can use, for example the Shelter helpline on 0808 800 4444.
- The planning law changes brought in by Labour look as if they are going to stay, although Mr Shapps has said he is going to ‘look at them’.
- Sadly, it looks as if this may be the death knell for the ill fated Law Commission Renting Homes Bill, and
- The government indicates that it will expect local authorities to deal with rogue landlords under the powers they already have rather than introduce new regulation.
Interestingly things may be different in Wales. The PainSmith blog reports that the Welsh Assembly still wishes to go ahead with registering landlords and regulating agents and will be seeking authority to do this.
What are your views on all this? Do you think it was always inevitable that these proposals be ditched, or do you think they should still have gone ahead? If so, which ones do you think should have been kept?