Queen's Speech: Housing policy addressed in two new bills

Queen's Speech: Housing policy addressed in two new bills

Announced in the Queen's speech yesterday, two separate housing bills set out the Government plans to address the rights of tenants and also strengthen the rights of private renters.

The Social Housing Regulation Bill will include new legislation that will strengthen the powers of the English regulator of Social Housing and see its role expanded to cover consumer standards. To back this up, there will be new performance measures that social landlords will be judged on, such as repairs and complaint-handling.

The Renters Reform Bill looks to strengthen the rights of private renters by applying the legally binding Decent Homes Standard to the sector and introducing a new ombudsman for private landlords to help resolve issues without them having to go to court. It aims to half the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030 and create a rental market that is fairer.

A new property portal will also be introduced under the act, where landlords can access information about their obligations and tenants can get performance information that will help them hold their landlord to account.

The NAO published a report on Private Rented Sector regulation in December 2021, which estimated that £9.1 billion in housing support was paid to private renters or directly to private landlords in 2020-21. 29% of renters in receipt of welfare live in a non-decent homes, giving around £3 billion of housing benefit spent on poor quality homes.

The Government says the reforms will be of particular benefit to those in the North of England, with data from the English Housing Survey showing that the proportion of non-decent homes is higher in the North than other areas of the country.

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