The government’s onslaught on the private rented sector during Covid has contributed to the number of laws landlords must comply with increasing by 40% over the past decade to some 168 pieces of legislation.
This includes the latest, the Building Safety Bill introduced to parliament today, as well as the oldest, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1730 and the Distress for Rent Act 1737.
This has led the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) to warn that far from the private rented sector being under-regulated, the huge number of laws means councils are unable to enforce them properly.
It is calling for a full review by the Law Commission to establish if these laws are fit for purpose, and to propose updated and potentially consolidated legislation fit for the 21st century.
Data obtained by one of the NRLA’s predecessor organisations found that in 2017/18, 89% of local authorities reported issuing no civil penalties against private landlords. More than half said they did not have a civil penalty policy in place.
With the government pledged to develop a new white paper on the private rented sector in the autumn, the NRLA also wants a full assessment of the ability of councils to enforce the wide range of powers already available to them.
It believes proposals to improve the sector for tenants and responsible landlords will be critically undermined if regulations can’t be enforced properly.
Chief executive Ben Beadle (pictured) says laws underpinning the private rented sector are not fit for purpose and fail to protect responsible landlords and tenants from the actions of those who bring it into disrepute.
He adds: “As ministers consider further reforms it is urgent that we understand the ability of councils to properly enforce these as well as existing regulations. We also need to use this opportunity to ensure laws reflect the realities of a modern private rented sector.”