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A Study Paper on the Private Rental Sector

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A study paper on the private rental sector has been published by the University of York and the Centre for Housing Policy in association with the Nationwide Foundation. Observing that government policy on the private rental sector is uncoordinated and spread across five departments, the report says that Welfare Reform and Universal Credit have created difficulties for tenants in the lowest income quartiles.

PRS housing stock quality is found to have improved but the sector still contains much sub-standard accommodation. Enforcement of standards through patchy and sometimes out-of-date legislation by local authorities is poor.

The regulatory framework for private renting is out of date, and in need of radical revision and the review recommends the introduction of a national register for private sector landlords and letting agents, with properties requiring the equivalent of an MoT certificate, prepared by a new breed of property assessors.

Whether Government takes on board the findings of the review remains to be seen.

The review comments on widespread dissatisfaction with letting agents, many of whom are identified as being unqualified. The merits of using qualified and accredited agents such as EL&M are clear.