LATEST: Under-Secretary faces critical MPs frustrated by delays to renting reform

Frustrated MPs have rounded on the government for again failing to confirm when it will timetable the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill.

During a Commons debate DLUHC Under Secretary Felicity Buchan (main picture) who appeared to be reading a pre-prepared script in the absence of any ministers able to speak during the debate, told them the Government was determined to deliver a new deal but only reiterated that it would “publish next steps in due course”.

But she reassured good landlords that the new system would continue to be a stable market for them to invest and remain in.

“No one will win if our reforms don’t support landlords as well as tenants,” said Buchan.

“This government is committed to reforming the PRS in a fair and balanced way – strengthening and clarifying landlords’ rights when seeking possession.”

Urgent

MPs across the House agreed on the need for urgent legislation. An exasperated shadow minister Matthew Pennycook said all 12 proposals in the white paper should be translated into legislation as a matter of urgency. “Problems have become acute,” he told MPs.

Rents are surging. We could have fast-tracked legislation this winter – instead we just have a vague promise to introduce the bill in the next two years.”

Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP said although he welcomed the abolition of Section 21, it must not allow the next crisis to be the use of Section 8.

Loophole

“If we abolish Section 21 but allow landlords to increase rents uncontrollably, we would have a loophole you can drive a lorry through.”

The Brighton MP suggested one way to address the issue of student landlords dealing with proposed periodic tenancies would be to place a duty on universities to house all their students.

“They could engage in tenancies with the PRS which would be permanent, and universities could license those rooms out to students to give the PRS security and students the wraparound support they need.”

He also called on mortgage providers to give landlords buy-to-let mortgages when buying a property with a sitting tenant, to prevent the loss of private rented homes.

Watch the debate in full.

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