Law News,Lettings News

Call for rental housing strategy from Public Accounts Committee

Em Morley - April 13, 2022

Today, the Public Accounts Committee published a report on the regulation of the private rented sector (PRS).

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), provided oral evidence for the report.

He comments: “Today’s report rightly makes the case for a comprehensive, data driven strategy for the private rented sector. Too often reforms have been piecemeal, based on insufficient information to understand their true impact or how workable they are. Such a strategy needs to include assessing the impact of reforms on the supply of homes for rent at a time when demand for them is soaring.

“We agree with the Committee’s concerns about the postcode lottery that exists in tackling rogue and criminal landlords. Tenants and responsible landlords are being let down by the pitiful lack of enforcement action by councils using the array of powers available to clamp down on bad practice in the sector. Our research shows however that landlord licensing schemes are not a panacea to improving this.

“As Ministers prepare to publish plans for further reform, they should heed the Committee’s call for them to better understand the enforcement needs and capacity of local authorities.”

Dan Wilson Craw, Deputy Director, Generation Rent, comments: “None of us should have to live in a home that could make us ill, but it can be an uphill struggle for private renters to get landlords to fix anything.

“It’s possible to take a landlord to court, or raise a complaint with your letting agent’s redress scheme, but the fact that a landlord can evict you without needing a reason puts many tenants off complaining in the first place. As he designs a new tenancy system, Michael Gove must make sure landlords cannot use threats to avoid their responsibilities.

“As well as more secure tenancies, tenants need better support from councils in dealing with negligent landlords, and a national landlord register is an essential part of this. Requiring landlords to register their properties would help to raise awareness of renters’ rights, give councils the intelligence they need to enforce the law effectively, and help the government understand what further changes are needed.”