“If they have been providing a particularly poor service and poor-quality accommodation, the sector will be better for their absence from it."
Last month's Levelling Up White Paper carried a section on housing in which the government expressed its intent to improve standards in the private rental sector. It included a promise to apply a decent homes standard which was the subject of a recent Commons debate.
Levelling Up Minister Eddie Hughes told the Commons that the power had rested with landlords for too long.
“We need to redress that balance to bring the standards of the worst up to the standards of the good, and we need to accept that that might mean that some landlords will exit the sector,” he explained.
Liverpool MP Ian Byrne urged the government to address the “fragmented, underfunded and broken” system and not to just deliver a Renters Reform Bill that tinkered around the edges.
A number of MPs were critical of the current levels of enforcement, asking that local authorities be given additional resources.
Eddie Hughes promised a White Paper on rental reform in the spring.
The future of enforcement?
This has long been a thorny issue. Local authorities have had enforcement powers in certain situations for a number of years, yet very few have ever used then, blaming lack of personnel and funding.
Now, a new initiative in London sets out to address the personnel Issue.
The first intake is now studying at Middlesex University for a new qualification - Private Sector Housing Interventions - to equip them with the knowledge to act as enforcement officers.
The course has been set up by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and funded through the office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Initially, the programme will only cover London but, if successful, could be rolled out nationally.