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Citizens Advice Recommends More Regulation for the PRS

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has conducted research and discovered that 50% of landlords surveyed weren’t clear on their legal obligations and many renters were also unaware of their legal rights. The CAB says this is largely down to weak regulation of the private rental sector.

CAB Report Finds Tenants Still Living in Hazardous Homes

The CAB report, titled: ‘Getting the House in order’, is damning. Many tenants report living in properties blighted with mould. Some of these properties don’t have smoke alarms or have other dangerous issues. 25% of tenants reported that their landlord hadn’t carried out safety checks on gas appliances in the previous 12 months. 60% of tenants had reported a problem that the landlord hadn’t fixed.

“Too many private renters live in hazardous homes – often with potentially fatal flaws. The government must establish a national housing body to ensure landlords let property that meets legal standards and gives renters the support they need when they don’t,” says Gillian Guy, the CAB chief executive.

The CAB is calling on the government to create a national body to regulate housing in the private sector. This would have the power to set standards, such as creating a housing MOT and checking whether landlords are “fit and proper”.

Local Authorities are Not Prosecuting Rogue Landlords

Local authorities have been given powers to prosecute non-compliant landlords, but research carried out by the Guardian has found that 90% of councils are not using these powers to tackle rogue landlords. In addition, landlords who have been successfully prosecuted, for the large part, remain undeterred and continue to let out properties.

“We have given councils strong powers to make sure that when a property contains potentially serious health and safety risks, landlords must take immediate action,” says Heather Wheeler, minister for housing and homelessness.

The Government is Committed to Tackling Rogue Landlords

She adds that the government is committed to tackling the problem of rogue landlords.

Of course, rogue landlords are in a minority. The vast majority of landlords do their best, but ignorance is fast becoming an unreliable defence. One-third of landlords said they had problems keeping on top of regulations and rules. A staggering 49% of landlords questioned didn’t know they were supposed to check whether a property had a working smoke alarm when a tenant moved in (failure to do so could incur a maximum fine of £5,000).

Are you familiar with a landlord’s statutory requirements? Tell us how clued up you are!

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