New rental sector investigation launched by University of York

by Gary Whittaker

A new independent review of the private rental sector in England is set to begin. York University is being funded by the Nationwide Foundation to look at whether the rental sector is currently meeting the needs of tenants.

The review will look at whether the sector is failing tenants and assess if the latest and proposed monetary and regulation changes will really benefit those who rent as they as they intended. It will also propose policy options that could help contribute to making the sector more efficient.

The University of York's Centre for Housing Policy will carry out the probe, with the investigation being led by Julie Rugg and David Rhodes, who previously published The Private Rented Sector: Contribution and Potential. 

Dr Rugg said: “The last review showed that the private rented sector is made up of lots of different sub-markets, meeting different types of need.

“Since we completed the review, every one of those sub-markets has changed substantially. Without a better understanding of how the rented sector works, it’s unlikely that policy aimed at the sector will have the desired effect.”

As part of the investigation, industry experts and stakeholders will be asked to submit evidence to be considered. The investigation leaders have already visited the Residential Landlords Association and will be working closely with similar organisations.

It is expected that the report will be published next summer.

Another separate piece of research looking into the way that the private rental sector meets the needs of vulnerable tenants will also be undertaken by the same team. This will be published alongside the main report, following on from recent findings that suggest the industry is not fulfilling the housing requirements of vulnerable individuals.

Helen Hayes MP, member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Housing and Planning, said: “The housing system is in crisis and we know that many of the tenants living in the private rented sector are struggling.

“It is clear to me that while recent changes to the private rented sector have been significant, particularly around its size and the wide-ranging circumstances of the tenants living in it, unfortunately, these changes are not at all well understood."

It is hoped the findings will better inform all of those involved in the sector and help when it comes to creating new policies that affect the private rental industry.

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29-March-17General Lettings News