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Issue:- 19 September 2014

Brandon Lewis - A better deal for hardworking tenants

TENANTS renting privately will get a better, fairer deal under measures announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, with Liverpool being one of three areas to benefit from the Government's Build to Rent scheme in new deals announced recently.  Thanks to a range of ambitious initiatives, people looking to rent a home will be better informed, have greater choice and more confidence they will be treated fairly. But Mr Lewis said this will not strangle the industry in red tape and regulation, which would destroy investment in new housing, push up prices, and make it far harder for people to find a flat or house to rent. Instead, today's measures will both provide the help tenants need, without jeopardising the millions of pounds in investment already lined up to build new homes specifically for private rent.  The Minister has announced that the key to creating a bigger, better private rented sector is to secure more investment and encourage more professional landlords to enter the market and offer their homes to tenants. He announced 3 new deals to deliver homes specifically for private rent under the Build to Rent scheme. Carpenter Investments has been awarded £4.8million to build 101 homes specifically for private rent in Liverpool.  As well as Liverpool, the other contracts are:-

£17.7million to Notting Hill Housing Trust to build 151 homes in Newham and Southwark;

£4.8million to Derwentside Homes to build 114 homes for private rent in Durham

In total the Build to Rent scheme is well on track to deliver up to 10,000 new homes for private rent by 2015.  Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:- "The private rented sector plays a vital role in our housing market, providing a flexible option for millions of people across the country. The last thing we want to do is strangle it in red tape; but tenants and landlords should have confidence that they will be treated fairly.  Today's package of measures is designed to do just that, putting power in the hands of people to get the deal they deserve, without punishing the vast majority of good landlords while still encouraging more investment in the sector. I would urge all landlords to take account of the new Code of Practice and look to offer our Model Tenancy Agreement; while today's Build to Rent deals demonstrate how committed we are to getting homes built specifically for this market."

The Minister has now published a new Model Tenancy Agreement, which will empower tenants to agree longer deals with their landlord; offering the security and stability that families deserve.  It also has the added benefit of avoiding the need for landlords to leave properties empty and pay fees to letting agents for finding new tenants. Also published, a new Code of Practice makes clear the legal requirements of landlords and letting agents alike, leaving both in no doubt about their responsibilities to their tenants. This code has industry-wide support, and has been produced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.  This is on top of a new requirement for letting agents to belong to one of three approved redress schemes, to ensure that any landlord or tenant who gets a raw deal has somewhere to go with their complaint; and could even claim compensation.  Mr Lewis urged letting agents not yet signed up to one of these schemes to do so before the 1 October 2014 deadline.

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