DCLG review of property conditions in the PRSMake Text Bigger
This Department for Communities and Local Government DCLG discussion document considers what more can be done and how best to tackle rogue landlords, without negatively impacting on the good ones.
This is the first stage of the review and comments are invited before the 21st March. Please note these are not policy or legal changes at this stage.
The DCLG review starts very positively:
“The private rented sector is an important and growing part of our housing market, housing 3.8 million households in England. The quality of privately rented housing has improved rapidly over the past decade.
The overwhelming majority of landlords are reputable and provide decent well maintained homes. This is demonstrated by high levels of satisfaction with 83% of tenants happy with the service they receive from their landlord. We want to support these landlords to continue to provide a good service and a safe home for their tenants. The Government is keen not to impose further regulation on these good landlords. Unnecessary regulation increases costs and red tape for landlords, and can stifle investment. It also pushes up rents and reduces the amount of choice and supply for tenants. We believe that non-regulatory alternatives, e.g. incentives or peer pressure, can be as effective as regulation.”
However it goes on to say there are a small proportion of Landlords and Letting Agents that provide a poor service and engage in unacceptable practices.
The topics covered are:
- Rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords
- Retaliatory eviction
- Rent Repayment Orders
- Safety conditions
- Licensing of rented housing
- Housing Health & Safety Rating System
Under Retaliatory eviction of particular interest was the following discussion point:
“One way of helping to reduce retaliatory evictions may be to introduce restrictions on the use of the section 21 possession procedure by the landlord in certain situations. For example, a restriction could be brought in providing that a section 21 possession notice has no legal force where repairs or improvements have not been carried out to a property. Such a restriction would not have any impact on reputable landlords as they will want to keep their properties in good repair.”
To tackle illegal evictions one discussion point is looking to:
“Extend the powers of courts to impose a Rent Repayment Order where a tenant has been illegally evicted and the landlord found guilty of a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. This may be in addition to any damages that the tenant may receive and any criminal penalty imposed on the landlord.”
Courts could also be able to award Rent Repayment Orders to compensate residential tenants whose landlords do not comply with their obligations, including where a property is found to have serious hazards.
It would be interesting to know if you think it is sensible to introduce further regulation when the existing sanctions for criminal Landlords are very rarely used.
Your responses can be sent to the DCLG be emailing PRSReview@communities.gsi.gov.uk
The full review paper can be seen by clicking HERE
Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.