The National Residential Landlords Association has thrown its weight behind the recommendations of the National Audit Office report urging the government and councils to create a realistic strategy for the private rental sector.
NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says: “Regulation of the private rented sector needs to ensure that homes are safe and meet all required standards.
“Too often the approach to this has been piecemeal. It has led to a proliferation of initiatives such as licensing, banning orders and a rogue landlord database with little evidence to show they are working.
“We support the NAO’s call for a more strategic approach. There is a pressing need for a better evidence base to ensure the system focuses on rooting out criminal and rogue landlords who bring the sector into disrepute. Too often councils focus much of their time regulating compliant landlords who are easy to find.
“The NAO is right also to call for better enforcement of the regulations already in place. This needs to include tenants better understanding their rights and responsibilities.
“To improve enforcement, we are calling for the development of a meaningful national redress scheme for the sector as part of the government’s forthcoming White Paper on rental reform.”
The NAO report says privately rented properties are less likely to comply with safety requirements than other types of housing, and are more likely to be classified as non-decent.
The report notes that there will be a government White Paper on rental reform next year.
“To support this process, the NAO recommends that DLUHC defines an overall vision and strategy for the regulation of private renting. It should review whether current dispute resolutions arrangements for private renters are appropriate and accessible for all tenants, and improve its understanding of the experiences among private renters to inform how support is targeted at those most in need.”
Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, says: "The proportion of private renters living in properties that are unsafe or fail the standards for a decent home is concerning. The government relies on these tenants being able to enforce their own rights, but they face significant barriers to doing so.
"The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities should improve the quality of its data and insight into the private rented sector, so that it can oversee the regulation of the sector more effectively. It should develop a clear strategy to meet its aim of providing a better deal for renters.”
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