The government has announced the timetable for implementing housing reform measures which are designed to make renting property more secure for residential tenants.
Reforms related to the Housing Act 2004 include a new health and safety rating system, licensing of houses in multiple occupation, the protection of tenants' deposits and the use of homes which currently stand empty.
Schemes to safeguard tenants' deposits will come into force from October 2006, completing the new regulatory framework in the private rented sector.
The government says the programme reflects discussions with those most affected by the new measures, and will ensure local authorities and landlords have more time to discuss how the new measures can be targeted on the worst properties and areas, as well as how the growing private rented sector can best contribute to tackling housing need.
Baroness Andrews, Housing Minister, says the measures will help improve the housing stock, protect tenants and improve the contribution of the private rented sector to meeting the housing challenge.
"The government is working closely with landlords, tenants and local government to ensure there is a general welcome for these far-reaching housing reforms. That way, they will make a real impact in raising standards quickly and effectively,” she says.
"Our new measures, especially those aimed at bringing empty homes back in to use, will increase the effective supply of housing in areas where there are real shortages, and complement what we are doing to build more new homes."
The provisions in the Housing Act 2004 are:
The government consulted earlier this year on the key provisions to be brought in during 2006, discussion about the implmentation of empty dwelling management orders (EDMOs) that process is still underway.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, meanwhile, says it will continue working with all those affected by the changes to ensure the new measures are well understood and applied consistently where necessary.
It says ministers will also be monitoring closely how the new measures are working on the ground, and will review progress within three years of introduction.
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