Thank you to all those who have contacted me about housing conditions in the private and social rented sectors.
The Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022 committed to introducing the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, the Renters’ Reform Bill, and the Social Housing Regulation Bill. I welcome these Bills, but I have numerous concerns about them.
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill requires the Government to set and report on its levelling up missions. One of them is to increase the number of first-time buyers in all areas and to halve the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030. However, I am concerned that the Bill allows the Government to revise those missions and the target date.
In addition, it includes plans to introduce a new infrastructure levy for developers. Communities are set to receive a share of the levy – but only if they have a town or parish council. The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 11 May 2022 and is due to be debated at Second Reading on 8 June 2022.
I welcome many of the proposals in the Renters’ Reform Bill, including plans to abolish ‘no fault’ evictions and apply the legally binding Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector, but Ministers committed to introducing renters’ reforms in 2019 and 2021 Queen’s Speeches. I believe they have been too slow to act. I am also concerned that there are no proposals in the Bill to protect tenants against unaffordable rent rises or to help those who cannot afford to buy their own home.
The White Paper on Renters’ Reform is expected to be published this spring. I urge Ministers to avoid delay and accelerate work on this because tenants need protections now.
The Social Housing Regulation Bill is also a step in the right direction, but it would need to be accompanied by significant investment in new social housing and a comprehensive housing strategy. The Bill is expected to be published later this year and when it is, I assure you I will examine it closely to consider whether it will drive up standards in social housing, ensure tenants are heard and that they finally have effective means of redress.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue.