Call for stricter regulations on letting agents

It has been recommended that a new set of minimum standards should be introduced to the UK private rental sector with the possibility of providing tax incentives for landlords who sign up to the accreditation.

The Chartered Institute of Housing have said that something needs to be done to improve the quality of homes and suggested that the development of a new set of minimum standards which cover property conditions and property management is needed within the renal sector.

In a submission sent to Chancellor Philip Hammond, ahead of the March Budget, the CIH called for regulations to eliminate poor practice.

Gavin Smart, CIH deputy chief executive said: ‘Though many landlords provide good quality housing, standards are highly inconsistent and at the lower end of the market they can be very poor’.

He added ‘We think more can be done to improve standards for the millions of tenants in private rented accommodation, including the introduction of a set of minimum standards and other measures which incentivise providing good quality accommodation. We expect that the large number of landlords who are already providing good quality homes and services will already be operating at a level at or above the minimum standards we envisage’.

Research commissioned by the CIH found that over one million families are living in private rented properties that do not meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard, a framework that was designed to ensure good conditions were maintained in social housing by the local authorities however was not enforceable in the private rental sector.

Seb Kiler, London Campaign Manager at Generation Rent, believes that the Decent Homes Standard was an attempt to create better standards for social housing however nothing similar was developed in the private sector despite its growing size and poor conditions.

He said that some renters are living in overcrowded homes often with hazards and poor gas/electricity supply which is a result of not only the small number of rogue landlords who ignore these issues but also the number of landlords whose lack of knowledge can lead to these conditions.

Kiler explains that; ‘Private renters often tolerate poor conditions. Many, for example, have found somewhere they can afford and don’t want any added costs that may come with moving, or to provide their landlord with a justification for increasing the rent’.

Licencing schemes introduced by some local authorities can help address the problem however Kiler argues that it doesn’t mean a Landlord will necessarily keep a property in good condition.

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