The Private Rented Sector - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents

7  Conclusion

151.  Policy and regulation on the private rented sector have developed organically over a number of years. Given how much the sector has grown over the past decade and that growth looks set to continue, it is time to step back and consider how the private rented sector can be supported to better meet the needs of those who live in it. In Germany, we saw a much more mature market, better able to meet the needs of tenants. We are not advocating the application of the German model to England but it shows what can be achieved when a private rented sector market matures and functions well. The German private rented sector took years to reach that point, and change in England will not happen overnight, but we need to encourage its growth and to ensure it matures to meet the needs of many more than it has in the past. To do so requires change in a number of areas. There are five key points on which we expect to see action:

  • getting the law right, by reviewing and simplifying the legislation covering the sector, and promoting awareness of rights and responsibilities;
  • giving local authorities the tools they need to enforce this law and raise standards across the sector;
  • better regulation of letting agents, and a crackdown on unreasonable, opaque fees and charges;
  • a cultural shift towards longer tenancies, with a more consistent and predictable approach to setting rents; and
  • a renewed effort to boost housing supply, with the aim of increasing choice, quality and affordability across the private rented sector.

We hope that these measures, taken together, will lead to a more mature market. This, in turn, will make the private rented sector a better place to live and an attractive alternative to owner occupation.

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Prepared 18 July 2013