This year the private rented sector is set to undergo a number of changes. The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government have launched a number of consultations and request the views and opinions of landlords within the industry.
Two consultations of particular note are:
- Electrical safety in the private rented sector – recommending introducing 5 yearly mandatory electrical installation checks.
- Strengthening consumer redress in housing – focusing on the current complaints and redress process, what should be expected from a redress scheme and whether a single ombudsman service is needed?
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government have issued the following statement:
Following Royal Assent of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, a working group was established to provide recommendations to ministers on what, if any, legislative requirements for electrical safety in the private rented sector should be introduced, and to ensure that any requirements strike the right balance by protecting tenants while not overburdening landlords. The Working Group has recommended introducing five yearly mandatory electrical installation checks for private rented property and that other safety measures be encouraged as good practice and set out in guidance.
This consultation invites views and comments to gather additional evidence on the recommendations made by the working group. We will particularly welcome views from individual landlords, landlord associations, tenants and tenant groups, letting agents, electricians, local authorities, fire and rescue authorities, and electrical safety groups.
The consultation is published online here.
On Sunday (18th February) we launched a consultation on improving consumer redress in housing.
The Government is keen to improve redress for people who experience problems with their housing and to make them feel empowered to challenge poor practices when things go wrong. Existing mechanisms of redress in the housing market can be confusing and appear fragmented. There are multiple providers of redress that cover only some aspects of housing. Membership of redress schemes is compulsory for some groups but not for others. We are concerned that the overlap between responsibilities and the existence of more than one scheme can leave some consumers confused about where to seek help.
We are already taking steps to fill the gaps in the redress market, and have committed to require landlords in the private rented sector to join a redress scheme. However, now is the time to go further. We intend to explore options about what can be done to ensure more consumers in the housing market have access to quick, easy and effective redress. This includes exploring whether the option of a single housing ombudsman could simplify access to redress for tenants, leaseholders, home owners, and home buyers and sellers.
This consultation invites feedback on options we present both for streamlining redress provision across the sector as well as how to implement the commitment for landlords to join a redress scheme. We would very much welcome your comments and thoughts. The consultation is published online here.
Both consultations close at 11:45pm on 16 April 2018.