24 Apr 24

Political parties should stop bickering and instead work together to boost enforcement of rental standards in the private sector.

That’s the view of the Lettings industry Council, a group including lettings agencies, redress and deposit schemes, Propertymark, the NRLA, Trading Standards and consumer groups. 

The council has published a briefing demanding an overarching policy that addresses all rental tenures and operating across political parties. 

Specifically it’s calling for five things: 

1. A completely new mandatory approach to compliance with physical and management standards in the PRS as a pre-condition for letting;

2. Professionalising property agents;

3. Ways to enable a massive increase in social homes and a reduction in empty homes;

4. Proposals to create more homes on small sites; and 

5. Changes to SIPP (Pension) rules to increase social rented homes

TLIC chair Theresa Wallace – who is also a senior lettings figure in Savills – says: ”Every agent should be trained to a minimum standard according to their role. Without adequate knowledge, landlords can be poorly advised and could find themselves on the wrong side of the law, with tenants’ health and safety put at risk.”

The council says that since the millennium we have seen unprecedented changes to the housing market, most noticeably to the Private Rented Sector.

The proportion of people renting privately has risen from 10% to 19% of households while those in social renting have fallen from 30% of households to just 17% today. As a result of this transfer of households from the social to private sector, 42% of private renters must rely on housing benefit.

TLIC claims this major change to the way we put roofs over people’s heads in this country has not been driven by those who invest, live or work in the private rented sector, it happened because of national and local housing policies developed without cross-Party and stakeholder input.

It goes on to say: “The problem this has unintentionally caused is that our housing crisis has worsened dramatically. Rather than collaborate with the property industry to solve the housing crisis, tenants’ needs have been pitched against landlords.

“Time and money has been invested in creating 170 laws which deliver four hundred rules and regulations for the PRS while resources to enforce these through local authorities has dropped to 2.2.officers for every 10,000 rented homes, leaving tens of thousands of renters living in sub-standard homes.

“At the Lettings Industry Council we have a different approach to fixing the housing crisis. We believe that collaboration between tenant, landlord, the industry, government, and other housing providers is the key to delivering a much-needed consistent and long-term approach to housing to ensure that everyone has a decent home in the tenure that best meets their needs.

“… We look forward to future housing policies which deliver roofs over people’s heads rather than divide our society.”

Link to original article

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