Commenting on the publication of the University of York’s report on private rented housing, David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association said:

“We welcome today’s report which the RLA contributed to.

“Whilst the Government’s own data shows that 84 per cent of private tenants are satisfied with their accommodation, no one should have to face living in sub-standard accommodation.

“With RLA research showing that there are well over 140 Acts of Parliament regulating the sector, the problem is with the enforcement of these laws. Research by the RLA’s research exchange, PEARL, has found that less than half of councils have a policy on the use of civil penalties against private landlords.

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“We are calling on councils to provide the political leadership needed to use the extensive powers they have to find and root out the minority of landlords who are criminals and have no place in the market.”

David Smith continued:

“We agree with concerns about the complexity of the legislation surrounding the market. Tenants, landlords and local authorities all need to clearly understand their roles, responsibilities and the powers available to tackle poor housing. For many this has become difficult to achieve.

“A root and branch review of all regulations affecting the sector needs to be carried out to understand if they are achieving what was originally intended. There is no point passing new laws and regulations if the existing ones are not being enforced properly.”

  • The private rented sector report for the 2016/17 English Housing Survey can be accessed here

Pages 11 and 12 note: “The majority (84%) of private renters were satisfied with their current accommodation. Private renters were more satisfied with their accommodation than social renters (81%).” It continues: “Almost three quarters (72%) of private renters were satisfied with the way that their landlord carried out repairs or maintenance…Private renters were more likely to be satisfied with repairs and maintenance than social renters (66% satisfied).”

  • In July 2018 the RLA’s research exchange, PEARL, sent Freedom of Information requests to all councils in England. Of the 281 that have so far responded, 132 said they had a policy on the use of civil penalties against private landlords.
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