New independent review into private rental sector now underway

There is to be a new high-level and independent review of the private rental sector in England.

The Nationwide Foundation is funding the University of York to conduct the probe to establish broadly whether the sector meets the needs of tenants, and whether the string of fiscal and regulation changes now underway will help the sector operate more effectively.

The Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York will carry out the work, which will be led by Julie Rugg and David Rhodes – authors of The Private Rented Sector: Its Contribution and Potential back in 2008, more popularly called the Rugg Review.

Interested stakeholders and industry experts will be invited to submit evidence to the review in due course. The completed work is expected to be published in the  summer of next year.

In addition to the review, the Nationwide Foundation has also funded another separate piece of research to be carried out by the same academic team. This will assess the extent that the private rented sector meets the housing needs of vulnerable tenants. This will be published alongside the main review.

“It’s clear to me that while recent changes to the private rented sector have been significant, particularly around its size and the wide-ranging circumstances of the tenants living in it, unfortunately these changes are not at all well understood” says Helen Hayes MP, a member of the all-party parliamentary group on Housing and Planning.

“The 2008 Rugg Review work was extremely useful and well-regarded, so I warmly welcome this opportunity for it to be revisited, giving politicians and policymakers an up-to-date and robust picture. I expect this review of the sector to pave the way for meaningful policy changes and interventions” she adds.

Leigh Pearce, chief executive of the Nationwide Foundation says a new review is urgently needed “to provide a comprehensive picture of the private rented sector, as there is little agreement about what is truly happening.”

He says both landlords and tenants are demonised. ”We see a sector that is providing homes for those who have been homeless while at the same time, people are being made homeless from the sector” says Pearce.

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