Friday, 18 October 2013

Eric Pickles plans greater regulation of private rented sector

The Government has unveiled a package of proposals to improve regulation of the private rented housing sector, including establishment of a tenant’s charter.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is planning to force letting and property management agents to join a compulsory redress scheme, ensuring independent investigation of poor service and increasing the likelihood of compensation for badly treated residents.

Launched in response to a Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee report into the private rented sector, the Government’s list of proposals includes publication of a code of practice setting standards for property management.

Pickles said that while he did not want to start ‘strangling’ the private rented sector with red tape, proposals would ‘sharpen the tools’ available to tenants and councils.
A new tenant’s charter will provide information for residents on what they can expect from their rental deals and highlight where action can be taken against hidden fees or poor standards.
Landlords could also be able to offer longer tenancies of three years or more following the introduction of a model tenancy agreement.

Pickles said: ‘Tenants deserve better value for money, and dodgy landlords should be under no illusion they can provide a shoddy service with impunity.

‘These measures will also give tenants the know-how to demand longer-term tenancies that cut costs and meet their needs - and when things do go wrong, the confidence to take action without fear of eviction or harassment.’

While supporting the proposals, Clive Betts, chair of the CLG Committee said it was ‘regrettable that the Government [had] declined to give local authorities the powers and freedom they need to improve housing in their areas.’ Source
Meanwhile earlier today it was announced that Rents have risen to record levels Rents across England and Wales hit record levels in September, with the average price paid by private tenants hitting £757 a month, according to research from property firm LSL Property Services .
• Average rents across England and Wales hit highest level ever recorded – at £757 per month
• Since September 2012 average rents rise 2.1%, up 1.8% over month since August
• On a monthly basis, tenant finances feel impact, with total late rent up by £31 million
• September sees strong tenant demand, with lettings activity up 9.2% in 12 months
Rents across England and Wales have overtaken all previous records, according to the latest Buy-to-Let Index from LSL Property Services plc, which owns the UK’s largest lettings agent network, including national chains Your Move and Reeds Rains and local agents like Intercounty and The JNP Partnership.(full details here)

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