The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee’s report on the Regulation of Private Renting, published today, 13 April 2022, claims that better data is needed to understand issues within the private rented sector (PRS) in England and to evaluate the impact of legislative changes on landlords, tenants, the housing market as a whole and the effectiveness of regulation.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has made piecemeal legislative changes in recent years thereby making the regulatory system even more complex and difficult to navigate for tenants, landlords and local authorities. The UK Government does intend to address problems within the PRS with the Renters’ Reform White Paper, which is due to be published later in 2022.
However, the report says that DHLUC will need better data to understand issues within the sector in order to evaluate the impact of legislative changes on landlords, tenants, the housing market as a whole and the effectiveness of regulation. The Department should also work across government, including formally where appropriate with other departments, to understand how the reforms may affect or be affected by other policy areas such as benefits and tax.
The PRS in England has doubled in size in the last 20 years and now houses 11 million people. The report says that the sector is failing to provide safe and secure homes for renters, with 13 per cent (589,000) of privately rented properties currently posing a serious threat to the health and safety of renters, costing the NHS an estimated £340 million each year.
The National Audit Office (NAO) also highlighted in a report in December 2021 that DLUHC needs to gather further information about the PRS to provide better regulation and enforcement. The NAO report claims that DLUHC will struggle to measure the impact of its interventions without this data but has not yet developed a plan to improve the information it has available.