Reforming the private rented sector inquiry – our response

03 October 2022

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) recent white paper on Renters’ Reform, A Fairer Private Rented Sector introduced the proposals aimed at “redressing the balance” between landlords and private renters in England.

We expect these proposals to be introduced within this parliamentary session, which means government will bring forward legislation in the form of the Renters Reform Bill by spring 2023.

Whilst most of the reforms laid out in the white paper are targeted at private landlords, there are significant areas that affect housing associations. This is because they use assured tenancies as set out in the 1988 Housing Act.

For context, the proposed changes that will affect housing associations are:

  • Assured shorthold and fixed-term assured tenancies will no longer exist.
  • Landlords will be obliged to end tenancies on specific grounds.
  • There will be new mandatory and discretionary grounds for possession in supported housing.
  • There will be a mandatory ground for possession in temporary accommodation.

Read our briefing to find out more about how these proposals will impact housing associations

Our response

The NHF has been engaging with DLUHC since the original consultation on renters’ reform in 2019. We are pleased that many of the provisions in the white paper show that DLUHC has taken on board the sector’s concerns. The NHF supports the government’s aim of protecting the rights of tenants, and will continue to work with the government on the further detail of the reforms. We are encouraged that private sector landlords will be bound by quality standards and tenants will be able to seek redress if the property they live in is not of a suitable standard. This echoes the social sector.

It is welcome that many of the proposals have taken on board challenges for the social housing sector. However, we still have comments about some aspects of these proposals, including definitions of “support”, tenant notice, cases of abandonment, shared ownership, measures to address delays in the courts and the transition arrangements.

We note that these changes will have a particular impact on some supported housing providers and we have summarised these changes in this dedicated update.

Furthermore, we welcome the acknowledgement of the challenges that ending section 21 will bring for supported housing providers in particular. It is vital the government now works with the sector to ensure the proposed changes do not undermine housing associations’ ability to continue to provide supported housing, particularly at a time when providers face a range of other significant challenges.

We will provide support to members as the reforms come into effect.