The government appears to have admitted that the long-awaited Rental Reform White Paper has now been delayed yet again, this time until the autumn.
In a civil servant job description the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities talks of the government’s extensive pledges to reform the private rental sector and then says part of the programme is to “Publish a White Paper detailing this reform package in the autumn, with legislation to follow in due course.”
The reform package was originally promised in 2019 with the delivery date then pushed out - it was to have been last autumn, then the 2022 New Year and more recently the spring.
Now the job description issued just this week - for a position working on the new National Landlord Register - has mentioned the autumn.
Earlier this year Housing Secretary announced radical pledges to change the private rental sector including a mandatory landlord register and the requirement for landlords to be member of a redress organisation.
However even more radical proposals - including scrapping Section 21 eviction powers - have long been expected in a White Paper, likely to be the first part of a road leading to a Renters’ Reform Bill which is then expected to pass into law.
As recently as January Eddie Hughes MP - the parliamentary under-secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities - told the House of Commons: “The housing market has undoubtedly left thousands of tenants feeling insecure and unprotected. However, this does not need to be the case and it should not be the case. We, the government, want to shift the odds in favour of renters and deliver a better deal for them.”
However, Hughes has also gone on record - at a Tory party event - as saying: “We’re reaching out to all elements of the [priuvate rental] sector to try to make sure there are no unintended consequences … We want to get this right. For example, if we start from a position of ‘Landlords Bad/Tenants Good’ then the approach might be too stringent for landlords and they’ll be forced out of the market. We don’t want that.”