The UK Rental Sector. Addressing the Cost of Living Crisis
The cost of living crisis in the UK rental sector has been an ongoing concern, with many renters facing issues with poor housing conditions, high rent prices, and fears of eviction. The recent BBC Newsnight report sheds light on the struggles faced by many private renters, such as Haley, who have been living in deteriorating homes and facing difficulty in addressing their issues with landlords.
Raising Issues with Landlords
One of the main challenges faced by private renters is the fear of raising issues with landlords, such as mould or leaky showers, due to concerns of increasing rent or being served with a no-fault eviction notice. According to the recent report, Haley’s rent was due to increase by over 25% shortly before being served with a section 21 notice, which can be devastating for tenants who have made their rented property their home.
Government Action on Renters’ Rights
The UK government has acknowledged the challenges faced by private renters and is committed to increasing renters’ rights. The government has proposed a Renter’s Reform Bill in Parliament that will abolish no-fault evictions, which will give tenants greater security in their homes. Additionally, the government has recognized that close to a quarter of private rented housing does not meet the decent home standard, meaning they are in disrepair, cannot be heated or insulated, or pose a risk to health.
Challenges of Fixing Housing Issues
While tenants are able to report problems with their housing, the process can be time-consuming, expensive, and ineffective. Currently, tenants need to complain to their landlord, or local council or apply to a court. Social housing tenants can have their problems resolved by a housing ombudsman for free, but this option is not available to private renters unless their landlord opts into the scheme. However, only 90 private landlords have joined the scheme, which is a drop in the ocean when considering the 2 million private landlords in the UK.
The Need for Legislative Action
The England housing ombudsman has called on the government to legislate to give them powers over the private rented sector, as it is challenging to encourage landlords to join a redress scheme without making it mandatory. Some landlords are concerned about potential changes to the sector, such as the abolition of section 21, and believe that they need certainty and confidence in investing.
The UK rental sector is facing a cost of living crisis, with many private renters struggling to maintain decent living conditions and facing fears of eviction. While the government has proposed a Renter’s Reform Bill, more legislative action is needed to ensure that private renters are protected and have access to safe and secure housing. The challenge now is to ensure that legislative action is taken to address these concerns and improve the quality of life for private renters in the UK
Research from BBC news.
Other Sources: Homelet