Two leading housing academics have called for the private rental sector (PRS) to be more closely regulated after they discovered a world of ‘slum tenure’ at the bottom of the private rental market.
Dr Julie Rugg and Dr David Rhodes found that a third of properties they examined at the bottom 20% of the rental price bracket failed the basic minimum set out in the Decent Homes Standard.
It was introduced by the Blair government during the early noughties to set a minimum standard for rented homes in both council-controlled and privately rented property.
Private rented sector
Funded by the Nationwide building society’s charitable foundation, the two academics’ report is called The Evolving Private Rented Sector: Its Contribution and Potential.
The report tracks the huge growth in the private rented sector over the past decade or so which has seen housing overall increase by 6% but the PRS by 65%, it says.
The report criticises the government for helping middle class renters with incentives such as Build to Rent but ignoring the growing underclass of people who live in privately rented homes at the bottom of the market.
Rugg and Rhodes’ report calls for an MOT-style system of checking and licensing private rented sector homes recorded on a national – rather than a local – database.
“We need to see a fundamental rethink of the role that private renting plays in our housing market and a comprehensive strategy to ensure it meets the needs of every renter,” says Dr Rugg (left), who works at the University of York’s Centre for Housing Policy.