Enquiry into Private Rented Sector gives opportunity to voice opinion

Enquiry into Private Rented Sector gives opportunity to voice opinion

9:01 AM, 24th October 2012, About 12 years ago 1

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An Enquiry into the Private Rented Sector by The Communities and Local Government Committee will give us all an important opportunity to voice our opinions before the 17th of January 2013.

The Enquiry is to focus on many important issues often discussed within Property118 by it’s readers:

  • The quality of private rented housing, and steps that can be taken to ensure that all housing in the sector is of an acceptable standard.
  • Levels of rent within the private rented sector – including the possibility of rent control and the interaction between housing benefit and rents.
  • Regulation of landlords, and steps that can be taken to deal with rogue landlords.
  • Regulation of letting agents, including agents’ fees and charges.
  • The regulation of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), including the operation of discretionary licensing schemes imposed by a local authority for a category of HMO in its area.
  • Tenancy agreements and length and security of tenure.
  • How local authorities are discharging their homelessness duty by being able to place homeless households in private sector housing.

The Communities and Local Government Committee has said it invites submissions from interested parties covering the quality and regulation of private rented housing, and levels of rent within the sector.

In the committee’s report on the Financing of New Housing Supply it considered the supply of housing across all tenures so does not propose to focus on this for the inquiry.

Submissions of no more than 3,000 words are invited by 11am on 17 January 2013.

Each submission should be labelled with the subject ‘Private Rented Sector’, sent to clgev@parliament.uk, attached in Word format (with as little use of colour or logos as possible) and be accompanied by a covering email containing the name and contact details of the individual submitting evidence.

A detailed guide for written submissions can be found HERE

However it should be noted that written evidence is often published and made available in a report and on the internet.

Role of The Communities and Local Government Committee as detailed by the Commons Select Committee:

To monitor the policy, administration and spending of the Department for Communities and Local Government and its associated arms length bodies, including the Homes and Communities Agency.

The Committee consists of eleven backbench Members of Parliament. The Committee’s Chair is Mr Clive Betts MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Sheffield South East.

The Committee is an investigative Committee rather than a legislative Committee and sets its own programme and chooses subjects for inquiries. For each inquiry, a press notice is issued listing the terms of reference and inviting interested parties to send written submissions. For most inquiries, the Committee will also hold question and answer “oral evidence” sessions with witnesses. These are held in public, normally in a Committee Room at the Houses of Parliament. Webcasts of recent oral evidence sessions can be viewed at Parliament TV.

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Joe Bloggs

18:23 PM, 24th October 2012, About 12 years ago

Dear Mr Betts,

Regarding your PRS inquiry:

1) Please consider the harm that ad hoc blanket
discretionary and additional licensing schemes such as in LB Newham cause.
This scheme is an abuse of power as it will blanket license the whole
area of authority on the pretext of anti-social behaviour in the PRS.
However, no data has been supplied to support the contention despite mine
and others submitting FOI requests.

Furthermore, there is no way to challenge this
imposition other than judicial review, which is prohibitively expensive.
Therefore there exist no effective checks and controls on local
authorities (abuse of) powers. The main justification given for licensing
was that unlicensed landlords could have rents confiscated under the proceeds
of crime act. However, this has been overturned by Sumal &
Sons v Newham Council:


my view is that licensing is the wrong instrument for
tackling rogue landlords and poor housing conditions. Local authorities
have a wide range of existing powers to tackle these problems but lack the will
due to funding issues and limited fines. Rather than punishing all landlords
with the cost and burden of licensing, the emphasis should be on THE OFFENDER
PAYS, i.e. with greater fines going direct to the local authority to self-fund
more enforcement action.

2) Any rent controls will be an unfair restriction on free
trade, interference with supply and demand and result in an exodus of
investment from the PRS. The result will be a shortage of supply and a
decline in standards and the increase in rogue landlords charging black market
rents. i.e. all the things that present policies are seeking to prevent.

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