Call for national register and indefinite tenancies for rental sector
A charity is calling for a new national body to oversee the private rental sector.
Citizens Advice makes this one of three demands it wants from the forthcoming Renters’ Reform Bill, expected to be introduced into the House of Commons before the summer break.
– a new National Housing Body and register to set consistent standards, give tenants greater protection, and – in its words – “help responsible landlords”;
– an end to Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions as promised by the government in 2019;
– indefinite tenancies used as standard, “to give renters more certainty and flexibility, and reduce their exposure to annual rent increases.”
Alistair Cromwell, acting chief executive of Citizens Advice, says: “The government’s eviction ban helped private tenants feel more secure during the pandemic. But it’s been a case of papering over the cracks.
“Our research paints a disturbing picture of a private rental market in which tenants pay high rents on badly maintained properties, while living in constant fear that any complaint could result in summary eviction.
“The Renters’ Reform Bill is an opportunity to lay better foundations for a more equitable private rental market which provides better quality housing and helps tenants feel more settled in their homes.”
In the first two months of this year, Citizens Advice claims it saw a 40 per cent increase in people seeking one-to-one advice on issues relating to the private rented sector compared to the same period in 2020.
Polling by Citizens Advice, through its national Tenants’ Voice panel, shows private renters are still concerned by the threat of eviction despite the current ban. A third said they had been worried about the issue in the last three months.
Figures from the charity’s website show In the first two months of the year 69,000 people viewed its advice pages dealing with problems related to private tenancies.
Citizens Advice claims also to have helped 16,530 people with one-to-one advice on these issues in the same two-month period. “That’s one every minute during office hours” it says.
This includes 29 per cent who had problems with repairs or maintenance; nine per cent worried about possession action not related to rent arrears; five per cent who reported harassment by their landlord; and four per cent who wanted help with a possible illegal eviction.
The Tenants’ Voice panel also found two thirds of those surveyed had experienced problems with maintenance or disrepair in the last three months.