05 May 2020

A commission investigating affordable homes in the UK has called for annual private sector rent increases to be limited to a new index of income growth and for landlords to pay tenants’ removal costs in some circumstances.

The Affordable Housing Commission also recommends that “charging more than the permitted rent increase would be an offence, with the landlord facing a fine and having to return the excess rent to the tenant.”

The policy would be policed by the First Tier Tribunal, or new Housing Courts as proposed by the Conservatives in the 2019 election manifesto if these are established.

Amongst the commission’s other recommendations is one saying that if private rental sector tenants are evicted because landlords want to sell their property or even move into it, “they should pay the tenants’ relocation costs, to minimise hardship.”

Another says: “The Commission recommends that the government examines the case for a national mandatory professional standard of competency in the private rental sector. Private landlords would have to demonstrate their credibility and a professional standard of management on a similar basis to the regulation of letting agents.”

And another states: “The Commission also recommends that a new national landlord register (run by councils but freely open to the public) is established to improve standards within the PRS.”

The commission includes representatives from Savills, the British Property Federation, the Home Builders Federation, local councils and groups including Generation Rent. 

It is chaired by Lord Richard Best, who also chaired the Regulation of Property Agents working group that reported last year with a string of recommendations for letting and estate agents to be qualified before being allowed to deal directly with members of the public.

The Affordable Housing Commission reported a few weeks ago but its recommendations received little coverage as they came at the start of the Coronavirus lockdown.

You can see the recommendations here.

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