Citizens Advice has conducted a survey into the PRS and concluded renters do not receive the same level of protection as in other essential consumer markets. Click Here to view the full survey.
Therefore they are calling for a ‘National Housing Body’ to set consistent standards, providing more protection for tenants and make it easier for landlords to do their jobs. The proposed new body could be included in an existing or brand new independent institution.
However, it is proposed the focus for the body should be on:
- Setting the right standards: it could implement measures to standardise and clarify standards for landlords. For example, it could develop a simplified code of practice, or standardise ‘fit and proper person’ tests. Using membership of the new landlord redress scheme, the body could develop a register of landlords and use it to regularly communicate with landlords on new and upcoming regulation. This would make it easier for landlords and tenants to know exactly where they stand.
- Create consistent expectations and requirements
- Proactive ongoing monitoring: a national body should proactively enforce rules. This will take the onus away from tenants to pursue enforcement actions and make it easier to access redress.
- Supporting landlords to meet their obligations: this body should be a resource for landlords to turn to to answer questions, and provide feedback guidance on regulation. This way, landlords will find it easier to know what their obligations are and follow them – providing a better standard of service for tenants.
The survey found:
- 22% of tenants experiencing disrepair end up spending their own time or money fixing the problem.
- 9 in 10 tenants don’t know whether a responsibility is theirs or their landlord’s.
- 1 in 4 landlords were not able to correctly identify any of the potential outcomes of failing to meet their obligations towards tenants.
- 1 in 3 landlords find it difficult to keep up with rules and regulations.
- 75% of landlords agree that having a single national body responsible for standards would make their job easier
RLA policy director, David Smith, said:
“There are already well over 150 laws containing 400 regulations affecting the private rented sector. The powers are already there for councils to tackle and root out criminal landlords who cause misery for their tenants.
“What is lacking are both the will and the resources to properly use them. We fail to see how establishing a new body of this kind will help to address this.”