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The PRS in 2022: a Sector in Deep Freeze

An arctic wind has blown throughout the UK in December. Yet it feels that the private rented sector (PRS) has been in a deep freeze for much of 2022. 

Looking back over the past year, what’s most striking is how the Government’s approach concerning the future direction of the market hasn’t changed. As a consequence, few of the issues which stand in the way of the development of a PRS that works in the interests of both landlords and tenants have been addressed in any meaningful way.

Although the Renters’ Reform White Paper was announced earlier in the year, progress has been slow in delivering its provisions. If the reforms are to be introduced, it’s still crucial (as it was this time last year) that the Government introduce a system to replace Section 21 which works for responsible landlords as well as tenants. 


This needs to include addressing concerns around the impact of periodic tenancies on the student housing market, court reform to ensure legitimate possession cases are heard swiftly and ensuring effective action can be taken against anti-social tenants. 

Recent NRLA research reveals that, of those private landlords who have issued a repossession notice at some point, half have done so due to a tenant’s anti-social or criminal behaviour with the vast majority having had little to no help from the police or councils to address it. Aside from revealing the extent of failure on the part of the authorities to deal with such behaviour, these findings underline how critically important it is for this issue to inform Government thinking on the future of the private rented sector.

Cost of living pressures have of course had an impact on both tenants and landlords throughout the year and, unfortunately, on the present course, this is unlikely to change in 2023. With further interest rate rises predicted for the new year, it appears that it will be a case of ‘more of the same’ over the course of the next twelve months.


However, of all the problems which affect the sector, one stands out above all others: the supply and demand crisis. Without pro-growth policies designed to increase the accessibility of privately rented homes, the shortage of decent accommodation for all tenants will continue to increase rapidly.

At the very least the Government should stand in the way of proposals which could worsen the situation. It should continue to resist calls for the development of a rent freeze in England. 

Such a policy would be catastrophic for the private rented sector, serving only to diminish investment in it. It will make it more difficult still for tenants to find a place to call home. Ministers need to do the right thing to support the most vulnerable tenants and unfreeze housing benefit rates.

But overall, what the sector needs most this Christmas is a clear and bold vision from the Government for the future of the private rental market. It needs to be one that recognises the importance it plays in housing millions of people across the country, and genuinely leads to a sector that works for both tenants and responsible landlords.

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    This word '' VULNERABLE'' annoys me, work shy benefit scroungers are not VULNERABLE, they chose to live off the taxes paid by the hard working people of this country, and nothing is done to stop it


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