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Tenants to get more protection against discrimination by landlords

January 18th 2024
 

The Government has announced changes to the Renters (Reform) Bill to protect vulnerable residents and improve the safety of homes for tenants.

Joseph Halvorsen, Apprentice Trainee Solicitor, reports on this recent case.

It has tabled amendments to make it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to people who receive benefits or who have children – ensuring families aren’t discriminated against when looking for a home to rent and protecting the most vulnerable.

Landlords will still be able to carry out referencing checks to make sure a tenancy is affordable and have the final say on who they let their property to.

In addition, a Decent Homes Standard (DHS) will be applied to the private rented sector for the first time.

The new standard will set a clear bar for what tenants should expect from their home ensuring it is safe, warm and decent. It will be set following further consultation and will help to meet the target of reducing non-decency in rented homes by 50% by 2030.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said: “Far too many people live in conditions that fall well below what is acceptable. As part of our Long-Term Plan for Housing we are improving housing standards across the entire private rented sector, while also ending discrimination against vulnerable people and families who are being unfairly denied access to a home.”

Local Authorities will be given new enforcement powers to require landlords to make properties decent, with fines up to £30,000 or a banning order in the worst cases.

Tenants will also be able to claim up to 24 months’ rent back through rent repayment orders, up from 12 previously.

Councils will be given stronger powers to investigate landlords who rent substandard homes, providing them with the tools they need to identify and take enforcement action against the criminal minority and help drive them out of the sector.

The amendments will now be considered at the Committee stage for the Bill in the House of Commons.

If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of commercial property law please contact Joseph on 01228 516666 or click here to send him an email.

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