Pickles, Shapps and the rest of the team took their seats on the coveted green benches to the Speaker’s right for their first stab at Communities’ Question Time today.
Normally a fairly dull affair, this session proved interesting, not only because it is quite obvious that most of the newly elected MPs haven’t found their feet yet, but also because the new Housing Minister used the opportunity to announce his intentions for the private-rented sector. Hold on to your hats…
Following a false start (or two) by his Secretary of State, Mr Shapps told the House that his key objective for the PRS is to ensure that there is a balance between the rights of tenants and landlords.
Fortunately, as he’s quite happy with the balance offered by current laws this means that the Department do not plan a great many changes.
Of proposals announced by his predecessor, Mr Shapps waved goodbye to; the National Register of Landlords, regulation of letting and managing agents, and compulsory written tenancy agreements.
Complementing the sector in a supporting statement on the CLG website, he went on to say:
“With the vast majority of England’s three million private tenants happy with the service they receive, I am satisfied that the current system strikes the right balance between the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords.”
The Minister categorically ruled out continuing with the previous government’s programme of additional regulation.
Although, in line with the spirit of localism, he did confirm that consent for local selective and additional licensing schemes would not be revoked.
In a separate letter to the NLA, Mr Shapps has also confirmed that the Government will review the planning rules for HMOs (brought in hastily before the election) to ensure the planning system is “tailored to local circumstances” rather than imposed where no regulation is needed.
All in all, not bad for a day’s work…