top of page

Impact of Michael Gove's Rental Reforms: Challenges for Private Landlords and Rental Market Disruption

In recent months, the UK housing market has witnessed a surge in landlords selling their properties, leaving tenants uncertain about their housing situations.

Diane Hall


Northwood Estate Agents Sold Property Sign in Hull

Want your article or story on our site? Contact us here

This trend can be attributed to the implementation of new regulations introduced by Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities. These changes have significantly impacted private landlords, prompting them to reconsider their investments and leading to potential disruption in the rental market. 

Michael Gove’s influence on the situation

Gove's changes to the law primarily aim to improve tenants’ rights and enhance the quality of rented accommodation. The changes include the introduction of stricter regulations regarding property standards, the imposition of rent controls in certain areas, and increased penalties for landlords who fail to comply with the law. Gove's reforms also seek to provide more security for tenants by extending the notice period for removing a tenant from a rented property and limiting the use of ‘no-fault’ evictions, commonly known as Section 21 notices.

The impact of Gove’s changes has left private landlords grappling with a range of challenges. Firstly, the introduction of stricter property standards means landlords must invest more in maintenance and repairs to meet the new, arguably stricter requirements. This additional financial burden could prove especially challenging for smaller landlords in the current economy, potentially resulting in reduced profit margins or even financial losses. Landlords, with older properties may also find themselves facing substantial renovation costs to bring their properties up to the required standards.

Furthermore, the introduction of rent controls has left many landlords concerned about their ability to set rental prices that align with market demand and cover their expenses adequately. Rent controls can limit the flexibility of landlords to adjust rents based on factors such as property maintenance costs, mortgage repayments, or changes in the local rental market. This can discourage potential landlords from entering the market and may prompt existing landlords to sell their properties to avoid potential financial strain.

The restrictions around ‘no-fault’ evictions also impact the decisions of private landlords. With less ability to evict tenants without a specific reason, landlords may be hesitant to take on new tenants or they may even decide to sell their properties altogether. This change reduces their control over managing their investments and may lead to increased rental arrears and difficulties in dealing with problematic tenants. The long-term implications of this element remain to be seen.

Some people believe Gove’s changes to the law around renting properties can only be a good thing. Supply of rental properties has dived in recent years as wannabe property developers/owners have entered into mortgage after mortgage to expand their property portfolio, creating a supply problem and forcing up rental prices. There are even those who believe properties should only be bought for rental purposes if the purchase price is covered by the potential landlord’s savings/existing finances. If this proved to be the case, fewer landlords could open up the market to more first-time buyers, which could slow down the need to build new houses—an issue that’s destroying the country in another way. The high demand for available housing is decimating green and brown belt land across the UK, creating issues from which everyone suffers. Builders only ever have profit on their mind, rather than the people who will buy the properties they build.

Renting a property makes it difficult for people to ever own their own home, as it’s almost impossible to save for a deposit on most people’s incomes when they’re shelling out ‘dead money’ each month, i.e. rent. It always amazes me how banks and building societies refuse young people on the basis of their improbability to afford a mortgage, when they can clearly see that they’ve been slaves to monthly rent payments every month.

As the government aims to strike a balance between tenant rights and maintaining a healthy rental market, it’s crucial to monitor the situation closely and assess the impact of Gove's reforms. Finding solutions that protect tenants while ensuring a viable environment for landlords is essential to maintaining a functioning rental market and providing stable housing options for all.

bottom of page