National Audit Office – PRS regulation report critical of government’s lack of planning

National Audit Office – PRS regulation report critical of government’s lack of planning

9:35 AM, 10th December 2021, About 2 years ago 8

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The National Audit Office has produced a report to consider the extent to which the regulation of private renting in England supports the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities aim to ensure the sector is fair for renters: Click here

The NAO is critical of Government and Local Authorities lack of holistic planning for the PRS and the patchy support for renters.

The conclusions of the NAO report are below:

“There is evidence that a concerning proportion of private renters live in unsafe or insecure conditions with limited ability to exercise their rights. In recent years, the Department has made various regulatory changes aimed at improving experiences for renters, including banning letting fees and introducing temporary protections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, the way that private renting is regulated means that these changes are not effective in ensuring the sector is consistently fair for renters. There are differences in the extent to which landlords comply with the law in different regions, and tenants from certain demographic groups experience worse property conditions or treatment. The Department is not proactive in supporting local authorities to regulate effectively. Furthermore, it does not yet have a plan to improve the significant gaps in data that prevent it from identifying where problems are occurring, which regulatory approaches work well at a local level, or the impact of regulation on the vulnerable. The Department is developing potential reforms to the sector and plans to publish a white paper. As part of this work, it will need a clear vision for what it is trying to achieve and an overarching strategy for how to address the challenges raised in this report, working across central and local government where necessary, if it is to meet its overall aim to provide a better deal for renters”

The report identifies the following challenges:

The proportion of households in England living in privately rented accommodation has approximately doubled in the past 20 years, and the sector faces several challenges:

On average, private tenants spend more of their income on housing (32%), compared with those living in their own properties (18%) or social housing (27%).

The market is increasingly populated by low-income groups, benefit recipients and families, whose access to other housing options may be limited.

In around 29,000 instances in 2019-20, households were, or were at risk of being, made homeless following an eviction that was not their fault.

Many local authorities face funding pressures, which can constrain their ability to check properties proactively for non-compliance and therefore places greater reliance on tenants being aware of their rights and reporting problems.

The sector is highly complex and shaped by intersecting policy areas across government that affect the supply and demand of rented properties. This includes areas outside the Department’s remit, such as energy efficiency standards, benefits and welfare, and judicial processes for tenant complaints.

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10:16 AM, 10th December 2021, About 2 years ago

The aim of this report seems to be completely unbalanced focusing entirely on regulatory control and how "unfair" the market is to renters. If this focus is maintained the market will be squeezed to death. Where will people live then, on the street? How can such an approach be fair to anyone.
Thier approach is fundermentally bonkers.

Luke P

10:26 AM, 10th December 2021, About 2 years ago

Sounds like ‘reverse-calculating’ to me…

Old Mrs Landlord

11:26 AM, 10th December 2021, About 2 years ago

The statement that during the period under review 29,000 households were at risk of being or actually were made homeless through no fault on their part appears to have been calculated solely on the number of Section 21 evictions, which tenant advocates such as Generation Rent like to refer to as "No Fault" evictions. As Government bodies well know, Section 21 is used where there is fault on the part of the tenant as well as when, for instance the landlord needs to sell the property - an eventuality for which there is no provision under Section 8.. They also know that landlords use S.21 because it is speedier and costs less as there is no need for court attendance, and makes it easier for the tenant to find alternative accommodation by removing the risk of CCJs.
Well, at least the authors recognise that the sector is highly complex and affected by regulations outside the remit of the Ministry for Levelling Up or whatever the Housing Ministry is called nowadays and does critise "lack of holistic planning". However, the whole report seems to examine the problem from the point of view of the tenants without giving due consideration to the landlord side of provision or the wider societal matters which impinge so heavily on housing provision.

Seething Landlord

11:54 AM, 10th December 2021, About 2 years ago

The report seems to be based on the assumption that the PRS is a social service which should be brought under ever tightening governmental control rather than a collection of private enterprises operating in a free economy.
Some landlords might be happy with the situation but those who are not have had plenty of warning of things to come and anyone who thinks that s21 will not be abolished is living in a fool's paradise.

Mick Roberts

12:35 PM, 10th December 2021, About 2 years ago

How do they know it is non fault eviction? I've issued approximately 9 Sections 21's that have gone to eviction over 24 years & not once have I been asked why.
Why would a Landlord who has spent 35k deposit on a house, 25k refurb, he NEEDS that rent money coming in. Why would He/She evict a good paying tenant? The last thing he needs is no rent coming in or hassle.
Please come & ask us people.

If they bring more regs & charges in cause of this, then it will become even more expensive & unfair for renters.


13:33 PM, 10th December 2021, About 2 years ago

The previous comments are all fair comments on the blurb set before us. I see a lot of 'fair to renters' (do they mean 'tenants'?) but nothing regarding the essential purpose behind landlords who own and let out property, whether residential or commercial. Landlords are not a branch of the DSS, they ask for a reasonable ROI, sometimes to supplement a meagre fixed pension income.
As such it seems to me a piece of advocacy rather than any sort of balanced report and should be described as such?


19:22 PM, 10th December 2021, About 2 years ago

I think it is time that we LL shout it from the roof tops that we pay tax on any profit. I have decided to tell my tenants how much the government and the local council have profited from then the tenant for renting my property. Organisation’s like Shelter need to be asked at every opportunity how much tax the government gets from the PRS as apposed to housing associations etc..

Freda Blogs

20:48 PM, 11th December 2021, About 2 years ago

Someone called HCR wrote the following on the Landlord Zone forum today about this news item. I hope he or she will forgive me for reproducing it here, because I think they sum up the situation very well....

What an absolute joke ..landlords have to jump through fired hoops to get a tenants out of a property…..that’s after complying with ll the regulations. Landlords buy houses spend time and money getting them up to standard then have to negate to ring a good tenant who they hope will look after their investment. If at the end of the tenancy you get your property back in a ‘kind of’ liveable state your lucky that’s if you don’t have to go through the courts to get them out. So let’s get this right the government want private landlords to fill in the housing shortage, they put caps on housing benefit payments so it’s not financially viable for the landlord to rent to tenants on benefits, keep bringing in new legislation to cost the landlord even more money, give tenants (bad or good) free advice on evictions and support them through it which causes delays on evictions and costs the landlords even more money, landlords getting fined for not doing immigration checks ‘right to rent and affordability checks, reduce the amount of money earned by not allowing the mortgage interest payment to be deducted from tax, cannot charge fees for referencing, landlords having to pay higher premiums on insurance depending what type of tenant you have plus a load more of high jumps ……….then they and others who support tenants have the cheek to say that tenants are not protected!……..pity us landlords don’t have the same support given when we are dealing with horrible tenants who obviously know their rights and abuse the system. Hang your heads in shame to the people who make up these rules ..

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