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houses 246Call for evidence - private rented sector 

The latest investigation into the ability of the private rental sector to meet the needs of the population is calling for evidence from interested parties.

The Nationwide Foundation is funding the Centre for Housing Policy, University of York to conduct a review to establish broadly whether the private rental 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 review will be led by Julie Rugg and David Rhodes - authors of The Private Rented Sector: Its Contribution and Potential in 2008, more popularly then called the Rugg Review. Now the University is calling for evidence for its new Rugg Review.The Private Rented Sector Review

The private rented sector has altered substantially since the 2008 report. The private rented sector (PRS) is now seen as a key element of the housing market - increasing in size and housing more people than the social rented sector. Can it increase overall property supply? Provide an attractive alternative to owner occupation? Deliver suitable accommodation for lower-income households unable to secure a social sector tenancy?

There has been a substantial increase in institutional investment in the market. Housing associations and local authorities are developing properties for market rental and there has been the creation of new rental products targeted at particular user groups. Financial, environmental health, planning, welfare and regulatory policy interventions currently frame the operation of the PRS, and are delivered at national, regional and local levels. The devolution of certain statutory functions to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has introduced the opportunity to learn from alternative approaches to issues, such as landlord licensing.

However, problems are still associated with the sector, including concerns about access and affordability, property and management quality, and security of tenure. The increasing proportion of households presenting as homeless and citing the ending of an assured shorthold tenancy as the reason also brings into question the ability of the sector to deliver long-term affordable housing, and questions remain as to the ability of the sector to accommodate vulnerable households.

The Review aims are:

  • to provide a comprehensive analysis of the ‘state of play’ of the PRS;
  • to assessment the range of policy interventions currently impacting on the sector; and
  • to consider possible policy options contributing to more effective operation of the sector.

The University is calling for evidence. They need robust local-level data in order to understand the particular characteristics of the private rented sector in areas across England.

They are asking contributors to respond to any/all of the following questions:

  • Describe your local private rented sector. Please indicate how you have evidenced your account.
  • Are there any problems relating to the private rented sector in your area? Again, please present evidence for those problems.
  • What would you say are the major obstacles you face in attempts to resolve those problems?
  • Have you implemented any solutions that have had a demonstrable impact in dealing with the problems in your local private rented sector?

The deadline for submissions is 29th September 2017. Note that all submissions will be made publically available following the Review launch in June, 2018. 

More details here.

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Geoff Knott, 19/07/2017

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