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Calls have been made for a full Law Commission review of all the laws that currently apply to England’s private rented sector to establish if they are fit for purpose.
There are just too many laws regulating the private rented sector, said the National Residential Landlords Association, in fact so many that councils are unable to enforce them properly
Its latest research claims that by the time the forthcoming Building Safety Bill is given royal assent, the number of statutory provisions applying to the sector in England will have risen by 40 per cent over the last decade to 168 pieces of legislation. One of those, a Landlord and Tenant Act, dates back to 1730 and another, Distress for Rent Act, to 1737.
But in 2017/18, 89 per cent of local authorities reported issuing no civil penalties against private landlords and over half said they did not have a civil penalty policy in place.
With the Government pledged to develop a new White Paper on the private rented sector in the autumn, the NRLA said it is calling for a full assessment of the ability of councils to enforce the wide range of powers already available to them. And it is warning that proposals to improve the sector for tenants and responsible landlords will be critically undermined if regulations cannot be enforced properly, which would serve only to help those providing sub-standard accommodation.
‘The laws underpinning the private rented sector are not fit for purpose. They are failing to protect responsible landlords and tenants from the actions of those who bring the sector into disrepute’, said NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle.
‘As Ministers consider further reforms it is urgent that we understand the ability of councils to properly enforce these as well as existing regulations. We also need to use this opportunity to ensure laws reflect the realities of a modern private rented sector’.