New legislation is a welcome attempt to deal with problems that have been affecting the private rented sector for years, but does it go far enough, asks Tessa Shepperson
After years of being told that the government had no intention of introducing further regulations, the private rented sector has been hit by a succession of legislative changes, with more on the way. Why is this?
Three reasons are:
- The increasing importance of the private rented sector – in some areas the proportion of households living in private rented properties is believed to be in excess of 20 per cent;
- The scandals of poor housing and rogue landlords, exposed in particular by television programmes such as Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords; and
- The ever-increasing bill for housing benefit paid out by the government and a drive to get value for money.
Rather than just describing the new rules, I will be discussing them in the context of three main themes: increasing fragmentation (in particular the growing divergence of housing law in England and Wales), the increased use of section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 as a penalty, and the clampdown on rogue landlords.