Our resident housing journalist Smair Jeraj takes a look a the recent LGIU report and also the conferences.
Another week, another report about private rented housing!
This time it’s the turn of the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU), a local government think-tank, who have published a report called House Proud about how councils can help improve the private rented sector.
We all know private renting has been growing fast for the past decade. However, just because there’s a lot of money washing around doesn’t mean it’s being invested back in the stock.
According to the report, 35% of PRS housing doesn’t meet the decent homes standard. One in five properties is considered to have a serious hazard.
Councils have noticed this and 8 out of ten of them are preparing to take a more proactive role in the private rented sector. If you regularly read the blog then you’ll be familiar with Ben Reeve-Lewis’s posts on the different ways councils can and have done this.
As you might expect, the report steers clear of endorsing a single approach, but is does broadly back up what was said to Parliament in a recent Select Committee Report :
- Red tape should be cut so councils can introduce and effectively enforce licensing schemes
- Data on private rented housing should be improved and made available (e.g. TDS data)
- Councils should work with landlords on self-regulation
- Councils should work with tenants to make them aware of their right and responsibilities.
Elsewhere in the world of housing, it’s conference season, so expect announcements and controversy.
Social Housing chief David Orr stirred controversy in a speech by saying it was time to examine the case for rent controls again – in the same week rents are nearing their record high, and currently stand at £743 a month on average.
Labour Leader Ed Miliband called for a big increase in house-building, scrapping the Green Deal, and more powers for councils to encourage development of housing.
The Green Party conference endorsed a motion calling for the end of the much-criticised Help-to-Buy programme. I didn’t catch anything from the Lib Dem conference on private rented housing, but maybe I’m wrong….