In a report on the private rented sector out today, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee says local authorities need greater powers to break the business models of criminal landlords who exploit vulnerable tenants.
The report recommends:
- Greater legal protections for tenants from retaliatory eviction, rent increases and harassment. For example, the Deregulation Act could be strengthened to give greater protections to tenants after they make a complaint about conditions in their homes.
- The establishment of a new fund to support local authorities to undertake informal enforcement activities.
- The introduction of new ways of informing tenants and landlords of their rights and responsibilities.
- A requirement for local authorities to publish their enforcement strategies online.
- A review of legislation by the Law Commission, relating to the private rented sector aimed at bringing more clarity for tenants, landlords and local authorities.
Commenting on the report, Isobel Thomson, CEO, NALS, said:
“We welcome the careful and considered scrutiny the Committee has given to the PRS. The issues facing the sector are clearly highlighted, with the inevitable conclusion to be drawn that Government must show vision and produce a coherent strategy to address identified failings.
“NALS believes the majority of tenants enjoy safe and secure tenancies, but there are those – whether agents or landlords – who consistently flout the law with no penalty. We are pleased to see that the report underlines what consumers need most – proper, effective enforcement.
“The proposal for a Law Commission review of legislation is an interesting one, but we would be concerned that it may take some time to deliver. For those in the PRS who are facing difficulties now they need a solution sooner rather than later.”
The Committee’s report can be read in full here