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Renters Reform Bill to take action on rental discrimination

Landlords and letting agents won’t be able to ban letting to renters with children or to those on benefits, under amendments to the Renters Reform Bill.

However landlords will still be able to carry out reference checks and have the final say on who they rent to.

A Decent Homes Standard will also be applied to the private rental sector for the first time, ensuring that rental properties meet the expected living standards, with the aim of reducing properties that aren’t fit for purpose by 50% by 2030.

The news has been met warmly by the industry.

Guy Gittins, chief executive of Foxtons, said: “It’s promising to see the government’s intent to crack down on rogue landlords. This will not only ensure that everyone has the same chance to secure a rental home, but that when they do, the home they are provided with is fit for purpose.”

Sam Reynolds, chief executive of Zero Deposit, said: “It’s good to see the government has finally heard our calls to improve standards within the rental sector.

“Not only does this mean tenants will benefit from an improved standard of living, but legitimate landlords who do work tirelessly to provide quality rental accommodation will no longer have to compete against those who cut corners in order to maximise their profit margins. This has to be good for the industry.

“But this falls considerably short in creating remedies to core issues within the market; such as a lack of available lettings stock which is driving up average rents and providing stimulus for landlords to invest in growing the PRS.”

Councils will be given stronger powers to investigate landlords who rent substandard homes, helping them to drive criminals out of the sector.

Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, said: “It does seem a tad ironic that the government believes they are waging war on rogue landlords, given they are arguably the cause of the issue to begin with.

“Having battered buy-to-let profitability in recent years through numerous legislative changes, the government has caused many legitimate landlords to exit the sector.

“This has inevitably led to a reduction in the level of high quality rental accommodation available to tenants, leaving the door open for rogue landlords to capitalise on their desperation to find a property.”

The amendments will shortly be discussed in the Committee stage for the bill in the House of Commons.