NRLA proposals for major court reform, a review of landlord taxes and exemptions for student landlords set to be hit by the abolition of the fixed term have been backed by the influential Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee. NRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle explains more about the plans, and what happens next.

It’s now more than two years since the government first announced its rental reform plans.

Since then, the NRLA has been working tirelessly on members’ behalf outlining flaws within the proposals and what we believe must change for landlords to have confidence in the new system.

This relentless campaigning on key issues of concern has now paid off, with the select committee recommending the government make a number of radical changes to its proposals in line with our suggestions, to support you and your businesses.

The cross-party group, which is chaired by Labour MP Clive Betts is recommending:

  • A shake-up of the court system before any changes to possession notices are made,
  • Exemptions for student landlords whose businesses could be rendered unworkable by proposals to abolish the fixed term,
  • The reversal of the freeze on Local Housing Allowance rates,
  • A full review of landlord tax, something we have also called for in our budget submission.

I have also met with the Housing Secretary Michael Gove last week, to outline the proposals in full – securing a commitment to taking a hard line on anti-social behaviour, one of our key campaign asks.

Sensible, workable solutions

In our own Shadow white paper ‘A New Deal for the Private Rented Sector’ the NRLA outlined sensible, workable solutions to what we saw as obvious issues within the government’s proposals.

Last year, I gave evidence to the Select Committee making it clear the association is not in any way ‘anti-reform’, but that – having an in-depth knowledge of the sector and the way it works – I could see stumbling blocks that could have potentially devastating consequences for some landlords’ businesses.

I was delighted to see that the committee took this warning seriously, with the NRLA racking up 73 references in the report, significantly more than any other campaign group by some distance.

What does the full report say?

In summary, the report:

  • warns courts reform is needed and calls for the development of a specialist housing court -something that has been a main pillar of NRLA campaigning,
  • stresses matters relating to rent arears or anti-social behaviour require a swift response from the courts,
  • advises anti-social behaviour should be a mandatory ground for possession – without the need for a criminal conviction,
  • recommends student tenancies should be exempt from plans to make every tenancy open ended, to avoid hitting supply of homes, or pushing up rents,
  • calls for the reversal of the Local Housing Allowance rate freeze, to ensure benefit payments cover average rents, again, another NRLA call.

It also demands a review of recent tax changes on the buy-to-let market, explicitly stating this is with view to making the PRS ‘more financially attractive to smaller landlords’ – something the NRLA has been campaigning for, for a long time, and that comes as music to my ears.

Elsewhere in the report the committee also outlines concerns over the patchy nature of local authority enforcement on housing standards, and the desperate need for more homes to be built, again issues we have flagged time after time.

With demand continuing to outstrip supply and a third of landlords considering selling homes, I am delighted the committee has listened to what I had to say and has taken on board so many of the NRLA’s suggestions.

PRS landlords provide a vital role in providing safe, affordable places to rent to more than 11 million tenants and I am the delighted the committee has recognised the need to protect them.

What happens next?

Now the recommendations have been finalised and the report published, it will be forwarded to Ministers, who will make the final decision as to whether to adopt the proposed changes.

The government has yet to announce when the Renters’ Reform Bill itself will be published, but keep an eye on our news site and social media channels for any updates.

To read the report in full please click here.



Ben Beadle is chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), the UK’s largest trade body for landlords.

A landlord himself since the age of 20, Ben started out as property manager before working his way up through the ranks at Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).

He was then Operations Director at property management business Touchstone before overseeing the merger of the National Residential Landlords Association (NLA) and Residential Landlords Association (RLA) to create the new trade body earlier this year.

His key aims as head of the organisation are to strengthen the voice of landlords in Westminster and Cardiff, to improve the reputation of landlords in the media and to support members through information, training and accreditation.

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