Politicians push people to private landlords

 

Central and local government politicians are pushing an estimated 11 million people in 4.4 million households in England to depend on private market landlords for their housing.  

Those 1.5 million private landlords in England receive £9.1 billion in state support paid either directly, or received indirectly through their tenants.

Yet a National Audit Office report, Regulation of Private Renting, concludes an estimated 23% of these private landlord homes are ‘non-decent’, rising to 29% for renters receiving publicly-funded support.

Worse still, some 13%, over 590,000 properties, feature at least one ‘category 1 hazard’, such as electrical faults, damp, and infestations that pose a serious threat to their tenants’ health and safety. This compares to 10% of owner-occupied homes and just 5% of social housing.

Landlords expose tenants in 9% of London private sector rented homes to such healthy and safety risks, says the NAO.

Tenants have no little or no choice as the building of new social housing remains very limited and council estate ‘regeneration’ schemes continue to result in net losses of council homes.

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No reason

Landlords overcharging, harassing, and illegally evicting tenants also remain rife in the market rent sector, says the NAO report. Private tenants spend more than 32% of their income on housing, compared to 27% in social housing. About 29,000 households were, or were at risk of being made homeless following an eviction that was not their fault during 2019-20 – that’s enough people to fill Wembley Stadium.

The government promised in 2019 to abolish such ‘no reason’ evictions but has done nothing to reform Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

The NAO says regulation remains confusing and poor, with 36 laws still failing to protect these tenants. Only ten landlords and letting agents have been banned since the government introduced banning orders in 2016.

Just 65 out of 308 local authorities in England run landlord licensing schemes. The NAO highlights landlords do not need their local authority to check out their private properties before they rent them to tenants.

The NAO researched 12 England local authorities, including Croydon and Newham in London.

 

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© London Housing Review 2022

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