Reading Council has launched a consultation on the creation of a Private Rented Sector Housing Charter.
If established, the Charter will include prosecutions for landlords who commit crimes.
The consultation invites landlords and letting agents as well as the Reading University Students' Union and the Citizens Advice Bureau to comment on the proposed Charter.
If it is adopted, these parties will be invited to sign up to a set of shared values and commitments, that the council hopes will contribute towards improving conditions for tenants in the area.
“The private rented sector makes a vital and growing contribution in Reading, particularly for families,” says Councillor Richard Davies, lead member for housing.
“Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous landlords who seek to take advantage of the situation and do not provide the standards tenants have a right to expect. The council cannot tackle this alone so we will be inviting all parties involved in the market to sign up with the council to a set of shared commitments they will make to renters in Reading.”
The proposed Charter's key ambitions include:
- Tenants and landlords both take full responsibility for the homes they let out and live in
- increasing the number of landlords supplying good quality private rented homes
- tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency in private rented housing
- working with tenants, landlords and agents to agree procedures to tackle disputes
- acting against criminal landlords to protect tenants
- bringing an end to unfair practices which contribute to a negative image of the private rented sector.
Over the weekend the Local Government Association called for tougher sentencing guidelines for criminal landlords, saying that fines have become 'paltry' and that prison sentences should be introduced for the most serious offences.
Reading Council's consultation, which closes on October 14, can be viewed here.