Law could be rewritten to enforce pay to stay
The government is prepared to change the law to force high-earning tenants to pay more rent, the housing minister has said.
Speaking ahead of his appearance at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference yesterday, Grant Shapps said plans to make high-earning social tenants pay market rent would require an Act of Parliament.
‘We are clear it would probably require primary legislation,’ he said. ‘We might be able to increase rents up to affordable rent levels without primary legislation.’
A consultation on the ‘pay to stay’ proposals, issued on Wednesday (13 June) suggests three options for limits on earnings: £60,000, £80,000 and £100,000. It says households earning over these limits would have to pay either 80 per cent of market rate – the affordable rent level referred to by the minister – or full market rent.
Mr Shapps said he is keen to set the earning limit at a level that will not act as a ‘brake on aspiration’.
Lawyers have suggested the plans would be difficult to implement for existing tenants as tenancy agreements generally limit rent increases, and cannot be rewritten without the consent of the tenant.
Mr Shapps said: ‘What lawyers forget is that the government is here to change the law.’