An inquiry is to be held in parliament into how well local authorities are policing rogue landlords and how effective the much-criticised selective licensing schemes have been in curtailing bad practices.
Announced by the Communities and Local Government select committee, the inquiry will examine several key issues within the private rented sector including whether councils should do more to provide affordable private rented accommodation, whether they have enough powers to deal with rogue landlords and what’s preventing proper policing of the privately rented homes sector.
The Committee will also look at how effective the complaints system is for tenants.
The inquiry’s terms of reference are very similar to a key report by the Adam Smith Institute published three years ago, which found that 52% of councils activity promoted the private rented sector through their local plans, but only 2% said it was their top housing priority.
“With a big rise in the number of people renting over the last decade, there are real concerns about the ability of local authorities to protect tenants by tackling bad landlords and practices,” says the committee’s Chair Clive Betts MP.
“Our inquiry will examine how local authorities can carry out enforcement work to deal with rogue landlords as well as looking at approaches used by councils to provide private rented accommodation in their areas.”
The scope of the inquiry mirrors several points made by DCLG minister Sajid Javid during his speech at last week’s Conservative Party conference.
At the conference Sajid said proposals would be brought forward to compel all landlords to join a national redress scheme to enable tenants to complain about poorly-managed properties and rogue landlords, and a housing court where tenant grievances would be arbitrated.
Isobel Thomson, chief executive, NALS told The Negotiator: “We welcome this announcement from the Select Committee.
“NALS has called for greater enforcement across the PRS for some time and launched an Enforcement Toolkit last year specifically to support local authorities.
“For too long rogue operators have slipped under the enforcement radar, so focussing on measures to address this situation is a positive move by Government. Coupled with the promise of increased regulation and the introduction of mandatory CMP, we can see that steps are starting to be put in place to create a very different PRS in the future; one that is fairer for all.”
The CLG Committee has ten members including former housing minister Mark Prisk and Hunters founder Kevin Hollinrake.
Individuals and organisations wishing to send in a written response have until 24th November to complete their submissions online.