New inquiry to examine private rented sector enforcement and property licensing schemes

Monday, October 16th, 2017 - Communities and Local Government Committee

A new inquiry by the Communities and Local Government Committee will examine the role of local authorities in regulating the private rented sector and whether they have sufficient powers to deal with bad practice.

The inquiry will also examine whether landlord licensing schemes are promoting higher quality accommodation.

The inquiry follows on from a Committee report published in 2013 which highlighted five key areas in which the Government should take action including:

  • reviewing and simplifying the legislation covering the sector;
  • giving local authorities the tools they need to enforce the law and raise standards;
  • better regulation of letting agents;
  • a cultural shift towards longer tenancies; and
  • a renewed effort to boost housing supply.

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

With a big rise in the number of people renting over the last decade, there are real concerns about the ability of local authorities to protect tenants by tackling bad landlords and practices.

Our inquiry will examine how local authorities can carry out enforcement work to deal with rogue landlords as well as looking at approaches used by councils to provide private rented accommodation in their areas.

Isobel Thomson, chief executive of NALS said:

We welcome this announcement from the Select Committee.

NALS has called for greater enforcement across the PRS for some time and launched an Enforcement Toolkit last year specifically to support local authorities.

For too long rogue operators have slipped under the enforcement radar so focusing on measures to address this situation is a positive move by Government. Coupled with the promise of increased regulation and the introduction of mandatory Client Money Protection, we can see that steps are starting to be put in place to create a very different PRS in the future – one that is fairer for all.

Submitting written evidence

The Committee is inviting written evidence in relation to the points below:

  • Do local authorities have the powers and capacity required to enforce standards in the private rented sector and deal with ‘rogue landlords’?
  • What are the main obstacles to effective intervention in the private rented sector?
  • How effective are landlord licensing schemes in promoting higher quality accommodation?
  • What approaches have local authorities taken to promote affordable private rented sector accommodation in their areas?
  • How effective are complaint mechanisms for tenants in the private rented sector?

The closing date for submissions is mid-day on Friday 24 November 2017 at midday and you can submit written evidence here.

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