The Private Rented Sector

HC 50, First Report of Session 2013-14 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes

House of Commons - Communities And Local Government Committee
TSO (The Stationery Office)

The report 'The Private Rented Sector (HC 50)' proposes bringing regulation for letting agents up to the level of that for estate agents, this would give the Office of Fair Trading the power to ban agents who act improperly; the report also demands action to crack down on hidden and unreasonable fees and charges imposed by letting agents.

The Committee calls for barriers to longer tenancies to be removed. In return for offering longer tenancies, landlords should be able to evict tenants much more quickly when they fail to pay their rent. Tenants and landlords are often unaware of their rights and responsibilities.

The Committee recommends that legislation covering the private rented sector should be consolidated and made easier to understand. After this there should be a publicity campaign to promote awareness of tenants' and landlords' rights and responsibilities.

Concerns are also raised about the physical standard of private rented property. Local authorities should be given the ability to recoup housing benefit payments when a landlord is convicted of letting property below legal standards. Similarly, tenants should be able to reclaim rent paid from their own resources if their landlord is convicted. Local authorities should also be given more freedom and flexibility to raise standards.

Further recommendations include:

  • to end the vicious circle where, in some areas, over-inflated levels of housing benefit drive up rents, in turn increasing the housing benefit bill still further;

  • to promote closer working between HMRC and local authorities, to tackle evasion of capital gains and income tax; and

  • to revisit the Committee's report on the Financing of New Housing Supply (see below).

Extent 75 pages ISBN 9780215060730
Size A4 Price £14.50
Format Paperback Published 18 Jul 2013
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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