New measures are being introduced in the UK that will create a bigger, better private rented sector for tenants and landlords aimed at getting rid of rogue operators.
There are more than 4.4 million households renting privately in the UK and Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said the measures that will ensure tenants know their rights and where to go if they have a problem in their home.
He explained that these changes aim to root out the small minority of rogue operators who shirk their responsibilities and make people’s lives a misery without hampering the efforts of the vast majority of landlords who are diligent and responsible.
But they also aim to avoid strangling the industry in red tape which would deter much needed investment, increase rent and reduce choice for tenants.
‘We’re determined to create a bigger, better private rented sector that meets the needs of tenants and landlords well into the future, and encourages investment along the way.
The measures we’ve taken give tenants the information and confidence they need to rent, allows the vast majority of landlords to provide a good service to continue doing so and are enabling developers to build specifically for private rent,’ said Lewis.
‘But they also mean we’re also rooting out the minority of rogue landlords who blight the lives of their tenants, providing peace of mind for people seeking a place to call home,’ he added.
A new guide for tenants has been published so they know what to look out for when renting a home. The guide makes clear the standards people should expect and the signs of a poorly managed property.
This includes testing that windows and doors can lock properly, how to recognise potential health hazards like damp and mould, and to check the temperature of the property and what heating is available.
This comes on top of new measures announced a few days ago in which landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties.
From October, anyone renting out a property will be required to install smoke alarms on every floor, and carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms.
Councils can also benefit from revised guidance on dealing with rogue landlords in their area. In particular, the new guidance gives advice on building up an effective case in court, demonstrating how a rogue landlord has caused misery for their tenants, to ensure the full effect of their poor practices can be revealed.
The guidance also covers new rules which require letting agents to belong to one of three approved redress schemes so people have somewhere to go if they have a complaint, and how to successfully prosecute a bad letting agent.
New laws currently before parliament will also end so-called ‘retaliatory evictions’, giving tenants greater security, and will require letting agents to publish full details of the fees they charge tenants so people can know what to expect to pay.