All 1 Selaine Saxby contributions to the Renters (Reform) Bill 2022-23

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Mon 23rd Oct 2023

Renters (Reform) Bill

Selaine Saxby Excerpts
2nd reading
Monday 23rd October 2023

(5 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Two of the less conspicuous but important parts of the Bill are the creation of the property portal and the role of the private rented sector ombudsman. If they work effectively, both should obviate the need for the court processes that the Chair of the Select Committee and my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne) have mentioned. The property portal should ensure that we can identify properties in the private rented sector whose landlords have not registered, and we can focus our enforcement action on them.

Selaine Saxby Portrait Selaine Saxby (North Devon) (Con)
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I welcome better protections for renters; in my constituency, swathes of constituents have been evicted so that landlords can flip their properties to become short-term holiday lets. Nationally, there may have been a growth in landlord numbers, but the Country Land and Business Association and the English housing survey both report that rural seats have seen a demise in landlord numbers of about 24%. In my constituency, we have lost 67% of our long-term landlords since the end of the pandemic. What steps will be taken to reverse the trend, so that long-term landlords come back into constituencies such as mine?

Michael Gove Portrait Michael Gove
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What I would like to see in my hon. Friend’s constituency and so many others is an increase in housing overall—houses for social rent, for private rent and, above all, for people to own. As the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron) pointed out, there is a particular challenge in the very attractive parts of the country, such as those my hon. Friend represents, that attract tourism.

There has been a phenomenon whereby houses that would have been available for rent to the local community have been Airbnb-ised, although not just through that company. They have been turned into short-term lets and effectively been operating as shadow B&Bs or shadow hotels. There is nothing wrong—there is everything right—with making sure that we utilise property as efficiently as possible, but that has created percussive and deleterious consequences in some areas. That is why we are consulting on both using the planning system and also, with our colleagues in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a form of registration to ensure that the situation works. Ultimately, however, the challenge is increasing supply overall.