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Private renters’ inquiry launched by Levelling Up Committee

21 July 2022

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee launches an inquiry into Reforming the Private Rented Sector, examining the Government’s proposals set out in its recent White Paper, A Fairer Private Rented Sector.

The inquiry will scrutinise the Government’s plans to, among other things: introduce a decent homes standard for the private rented sector; reform the system of tenancies and abolish no-fault evictions; reform the grounds on which landlords can take possession of their properties; and better protect tenants from unfair rent increases. According to the White Paper, nearly 11,000 householders in the private rented sector report having to move because the landlord put up their rent.

The inquiry is also likely to explore the Government’s proposals to set up a new ombudsman covering all private landlords, to speed up the court process and to clamp down on landlords who refuse to let to benefit claimants.

The full terms of reference are below. 

Chair's comments

Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, said: “Private renters can be the victim of a power imbalance with their landlords, subject to unjustified hikes in rents and the fear of being forced out of their accommodation. During a cost-of-living crisis, the impact of rising housing costs is even more damaging on households.

“It’s welcome that the Government has come forward with its White Paper and, as a Committee, we are keen to examine how effective the proposed reforms will be in protecting tenants and ensuring the success of the private rented sector in providing homes. As a Committee, we look forward to hearing from a range of stakeholders including tenants groups, landlords, local government, and Ministers and will then report with recommendations to Government on how they could improve their proposals for reform of the private rented sector.”

Reforming the Private Rented Sector – inquiry terms of reference

Submit written evidence

The Committee welcomes evidence submissions on the terms of reference outlined below. The closing date for submissions is 19 August 2022.

Evidence sessions for the inquiry are likely to begin in September.

The Committee invites written evidence on any part of the Government’s White Paper, A Fairer Private Rented Sector. In particular, it seeks responses to the following questions:

  • Will the Government’s White Paper proposals result in a fairer private rented sector (PRS)?
  • What do the proposals in the White Paper and other recent reforms indicate about the role the Government envisages the PRS playing in providing housing nationally?
  • Have the Government’s announcements already led to any changes in behaviour in the PRS?
  • Do the proposals for reforming tenancies, including the abolition of Section 21, strike the right balance between protecting tenants from unfair eviction and allowing landlords to take possession of their properties in reasonable circumstances?
  • How easily will tenants be able to challenge unfair rent increases under the proposals?
  • Does the PRS need its own ombudsman? If so, what powers should it have?
  • Will the proposals result in more disputes ending up in the courts? If so, will the proposals for speeding up the courts service suffice?
  • What impact, if any, will the reforms have on the supply of students homes in the general PRS?
  • What impact, if any, will the reforms have on the supply of homes in the PRS?
  • What should be included in the new decent homes standard and how easily could it be enforced?
  • How enforceable are the proposals to make it illegal for landlords to have blanket bans on letting to people on benefits or with children? What other groups, if any, should be protected from blanket bans?
  • Overall, what additional pressures will the proposals place on local councils, and how many of these will require new burdens funding?

Further information

Image: PA/John Birdsall