Renters Reform Bill 3rd Reading 25th April 2024

by | Apr 24, 2024 | Cambridge House News, Safer Renting

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Bags packed and on the street with a mattress leaning against the wall

Amendment to scrap landlord licensing proposal ‘risk leaving tenants at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords’, say experts

Safer Renting affirms our membership of the Renters Reform Coalition and supports its statement (attached)

Following the recent amendments tabled by the Government, we do not believe that the Bill in its proposed form will deliver meaningful reform for renters, and we are concerned that many of the proposed amendments might make things worse.

The existing property licensing framework provides vital tools for local authorities to require landlords to improve property conditions for renters and to take enforcement action if standards are not met. In preparing the Renters Reform Bill, no work was undertaken to consider the importance of or need to strengthen the existing licensing framework for homes in the private rented sector; a missed opportunity.

Safer Renting’s recent report Licensing Private Rented Homes; Insights and Experiences from Five London Boroughs therefore recommended that the government should fund and support the expansion of licensing and its enforcement, as a vital tool to ensure that the homes available to rent in the private sector meet the basic minimum standards for human habitation.

In summary, the key findings of the report were:

  • Almost all private rented properties brought forward for licensing fail to meet the standards required for a licence to be granted;
  • Many properties required multiple inspections before reaching the required standard; and
  • Introducing a landlord register alone won’t be enough to tackle poor property conditions, unless supported by an inspection regime.

We are disappointed to see an attempt at ‘hijacking’ this Bill as a vehicle for abolishing selective licensing entirely. We call on all MPs to reject the backbench amendment (NC1), on the grounds that:

  • it has not been given full and proper consideration;
  • the proposed Property Portal does not exist and will not exist for some time; and
  • that such a move would fatally undermine the core means by which rental homes standards can be maintained.

Roz Spencer, Head of Service at Safer renting says:

“Our Licensing Private Rented Homes study tells us Selective Licensing needs strengthening with enhanced programmes of inspection and enforcement. This report adds to the government’s own data (in ‘A Fairer PRS’), showing that even where licensing is in place, landlord non-compliance is the norm. The report recommends improving enforcement powers with measures such as annual property inspections and continuing schemes until there is evidence it is no longer required.”

“Abolishing selective licensing risks undermining the entire stated purpose of Renters Reform Bill: improved security of tenure for renters isn’t really worth having if the homes they have the right to stay in aren’t Fit for Human Habitation.”

Roz Spencer, Safer Renting Head of Service, Cambridge House
Roz Spencer, Head of Service, Safer Renting

Further information

The report by Roz Spencer and Julie Rugg, available to download here, is based on case study work in five London boroughs: Camden, Ealing, Enfield, Waltham Forest and Westminster.

About Safer Renting

Safer Renting is a service established by Cambridge House in 2015 to protect the rights of private rented sector tenants exploited and victimised by criminal Landlords. In 2020 it published the award-winning report “Journeys in the Shadow Private Rented Sector” and in 2023 it published its 2022 Illegal Evictions Count.

Safer Renting:

  • Works in partnership with local authorities and the police to intervene in illegal evictions and prevent homelessness.
  • Provides access to justice for victimised tenants.
  • Inform the development of public policy by undertaking research that exposes the activities of criminal landlords and the devastating impact on vulnerable families.

Media Enquires

See full Press Release

Contact Roz Spencer, 07539 326012,

About Cambridge House Safer Renting

The Cambridge House Safer Renting team present the ‘go-to’ blog on the world of the Shadow Private Rented Sector.

We monitor the world of rogue landlord and agent activity, publicise developments, circulate innovative ideas, keep readers abreast of changes in laws and regulations, raising awareness of criminal trends and scams, celebrate successful actions and interview people working in the field, connecting up anyone involved, from tenants and their advisers, to enforcement officers, lawyers and journalists.

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