Government told to support landlords amid plans to ‘professionalise’ the private rented sector

The government’s plans to ‘professionalise’ the private rented sector and improve parity with the social rented sector, where there has been a decent homes standard in place since 2001, has been welcomed by Leaders Romans Group, but landlords are not so keen.

On Friday, the department for levelling up, housing & communities published its consultation on A Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector. The consultation is now open and runs until 14 October 2022.

The consultation’s  purpose is to seek views on the introduction and enforcement of a Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector in England and it follows the publication in June of the White Paper A fairer private rented sector which set out the Government’s commitment to introduce a legally binding Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time.

Andrew Jones, group director for corporate lettings & Build to Rent at Leaders Romans Group, commented, “This consultation is a continuation of the Government’s plans to ‘professionalise’ the private rented sector and improve parity with the social rented sector, where there has been a decent homes standard in place since 2001. We fully support the initiative to raise standards, especially in the small minority of cases where standards are inadequate.

“But it is very important that in introducing major reforms, the government does not penalise the vast majority of landlords who are already operating honestly and responsively, in what can be a very difficult market – especially in view of rising interest rates, increased regulations and concerns about a potential recession.

“The private rented sector has potential for continued further significant growth – for the increasing number of Build to Rent operators and developers; for the owners of office buildings and shops who are increasingly looking to redevelop these into residential focused corporate portfolios , and for additional opportunities for existing corporate and individual landlords to grow to meet current demand in the market. At a time when many people are choosing to rent for a multitude of reasons, it would be detrimental to families up and down the country if regulations were increased unnecessarily.

“We encourage all landlords and lettings agents, along with tenants, to take part in this important consultation.”

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “Standards in the private rented sector are improving. That is why private renters are more likely to be satisfied with their accommodation than those in the social rented sector.

“The government’s plans should focus on making it easier for private landlords, tenants and councils to understand what is expected of them by simplifying the almost 170 laws already affecting the sector. The plans need to also recognise crucial differences between private and social rented housing, including in the age and types of properties in each.

“In the end, all the laws in the world will do nothing without improved enforcement against the minority of landlords who tarnish the reputation of the responsible, law-abiding majority. That requires properly resourced councils tackling the criminals and rogues, whilst allowing the responsible majority to easily prove their home is safe and compliant.”

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns for Propertymark, added: “The Decent Homes Standard for social housing cannot be directly replicated in the more diverse privately rented market.

“The consultation rightly looks to ensure facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms are fit for purpose rather than assessed on their age, and re-commits to making the existing Housing Health and Safety Rating System easier for agents, their landlords and tenants to use and understand.

“But we are concerned there seems to be no obvious deviation from the current one-size-fits-all approach to energy efficiency, which we will continue to warn against.

“Giving more enforcement powers to local authorities must come with adequate funding to ensure the new standards can be actively assessed. This is essential to achieving the aim of removing inadequate properties from the private rental market rather than placing more regulatory burden on good landlords without appropriate time and support to fully comply.”


Consultation launched on introducing a new Decent Homes Standard to the PRS


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One Comment

  1. A W

    Can we stop this idiotic rhetoric “introduce decent A Decent Homes Standard in the PRS”. HHSRS or Housing health and safety rating system has been a thing since the Housing Act 2004.

    Landlords have had to keep the property in a good state of repair since 1985 (LTA 1985).

    To allude that the PRS hasn’t had BETTER standards than social housing is moronic in the extreme.


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