Major recommendations to improve the Private Rented Sector for both tenants and landlords are being published today.
The independent review into the Private Rented Sector (PRS), headed by Julie Rugg of the University of York, recommends a new drive to improve the quality of the sector through:
* Introducing a light touch licensing system for landlords and mandatory regulation for letting agencies, to increase protection for both vulnerable tenants and good landlords.
* Introducing a new independent complaints and redress procedure for consumers, to help end long drawn out disputes.
* Tax changes to encourage good landlords to grow, including changes to stamp duty to encourage them to buy more properties.
* Looking at ways for the PRS to be more accommodating towards households on lower incomes, including considering more support for landlords prepared to house more vulnerable people.
* Local authorities taking steps to better understand the sector and support good landlords whilst tackling poorly performing landlords and promoting tenants’ rights.
Housing Minister Margaret Beckett today welcomed the report and said the Government agrees with the need to improve the sector for both landlords and tenants and would carefully consider the findings before setting out the next steps.
Mrs Beckett said:
“The private rented sector plays a really important role in the housing market. Many of us have rented a house at some stage of our lives and it’s crucial that we have a high quality sector that works well for both landlords and tenants, and encourages mobility.
“Julie Rugg has provided a comprehensive and authoritative report into the issues the private rented sector faces, as well as a number of practical recommendations to consider.
“Whilst the majority of people are satisfied with their experience of renting, there is still much more to do to protect the most vulnerable tenants from the minority of unscrupulous landlords.
“At the same time, this report shows we need to look at how we can raise standards and improve services across the board in the private rented sector.”
Julie Rugg said:
“We want to move to a new agenda for the PRS that looks to establish policy that works with the strengths of the sector.
“We hope the review has signalled the Government’s intention to seek a better working relationship with the sector. We now have a much stronger evidence base, and the opportunity to frame more informed policy. It will be interesting to see what happens next.”