Please Note: This Article is 5 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

The Citizens Advice wants people to lobby along side itself and Shelter for more rights for tenants in the private rented sector as MPs are due to debate new proposals (DCLG) in October, says Citizens Advice (CA) campaigns officer, Sue Christoforou:

“We, like Shelter and other housing campaigners, recognise that there is a housing crisis in the UK, which affects people in a variety of situations, as house prices rocket and more and more people are forced to rent in the private sector. This is why we’re campaigning to strengthen the rights of those in privately rented accommodation, which… is too often of poor quality or, in some cases, a risk to tenants’ health and safety.”

The charity is asking people to lobby for more controls over the private rental sector (PRS), letting agents and landlords, as the government (DCLG) in a discussion document sets out its plans to block ‘rogue’ landlords’ ability to operate. Its aim is to “help to provide a more reliable private rented sector (PRS) market for renters.” And where landlords do transgress, tenants may well be able to get a refund for poor treatment when the new proposals are debated by MPs in October.

CA claims that a quarter of the housing-related queries it receives concern the private rental sector. One of the key proposals is to ban landlords and agents who are repeat offenders: not displaying fees in the case of agents or illegal eviction in the case of landlords, for example. Their names would go on a blacklist making it difficult or impossible for them to operate in the PRS in the future.

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During the consultation process the CA is asking people to lobby government to ensure measures are put in place to compensate tenants whose landlords “force them to live in dangerous properties” and to strengthen the regulatory powers of councils over private lets.

“We need you to support our campaign by commenting on the proposals set out in the government’s discussion document and backing our calls for an improved private rented sector. Time is tight.

“The Housing Bill, expected in October, represents a huge opportunity to win a fairer deal for those clients and the millions of people who rent privately. We’ll be working hard to make sure this new law is strong enough to make a difference for private renters across the country. Show your support by telling the Government what it needs to do to help private tenants in a new consultation.

“Greater protection for private renters is long overdue. Private rented housing is a market where consumers have little or no protection or redress from poor quality providers – in this case, landlords and lettings agents,” says CA’s campaigns officer, Sue Christoforou.

An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing and Planning has been set-up to try to tackle the growing housing shortage in the UK. Chaired by Conservate MP James Cartlidge, the group will look to produce a set of recommendations to Government on boosting house building.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is taking a lead role in supporting the group which will also consider increasing the housing stock for both rental and private ownership, and speeding up building of sustainable housing in the UK, which now faces an annual shortfall of 130,000 homes.

The APPG consists of MPs from a range of urban and rural constituencies. James Cartlidge will be supported by four vice-chairs;

Mark Prisk MP (Conservative MP for Hertford and Stortford and former Housing Minister)

Helen Hayes MP (Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood and former Town Planner)

Lord Richard Best (Cross Bench MP and President of the Local Government Association)

Stephen Pound MP (Labour MP for Ealing North).

James Cartlidge said,

“Housing is increasingly becoming one of the most critical policy challenges facing local and national Government, and with a Housing Bill pending, it is likely to become more political and controversial. In this context, a cross-party Parliamentary group focused objectively on the national policy challenge of housing offers a vehicle for taking the debate forward in a way that is both positive and constructive. Having spent my working life in the shared ownership housing sector, I am acutely aware of the challenges facing first time buyers, particularly in London. Equally, as a rural MP, I recognise the need for development to be sustainable. Ultimately, there are a whole raft of complex issues in housing and planning today but I hope that our APPG can make a real contribution to the debate.”

Please Note: This Article is 5 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.
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