HL Deb 21 May 1998 vol 589 c196WA
Lord Hughes of Woodside

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress they have made in drawing up proposals to address the problem of fair rent increases affecting tenants under the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 and the Rent Act 1977. [HL2035]

Baroness Hayman

The Government are very concerned that private tenants with regulated tenancies and secure tenants of registered social landlords have faced exceptional rent increases in recent years. After market rents were introduced in 1989 for all new lettings, these tenants continued to have the protection of the fair rent system. However, they could never have anticipated the high level rent increases that some of them have faced. Many of them are elderly and on fixed incomes. They have planned their affairs on the basis that they would be able to remain in their present homes and are now faced with real financial difficulties. My department is today issuing a public consultation paper setting out how we propose to tackle this problem.

The proposals would apply to those private tenants and secure tenants of Registered Social Landlords who have a fair rent registered under the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 or the Rent Act 1977. Increases would be limited by an order made under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. The limits would be RPI plus 10 per cent. for the first re-registration after the order comes into effect and RPI plus 5 per cent. for subsequent re-registrations. The limits would not apply if the rent had not previously been registered or a substantial increase in rent was due as a result of repairs or improvements by the landlord to the property. The limits would not apply to rent increases for assured and assured shorthold tenancies.

Comments on the proposals are invited by 24 July. Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Library. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales is issuing a similar consultation paper in Wales.