Government considers landlord charter

by Sarah Ashcroft

A charter of requirements for all landlords and tenants in the private rented sector could be drawn up. Housing minister Grant Shapps has indicated he is in favour of such a document, which could cover everything from fire safety to rent increase and tenant eviction notices.

In the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders argued that the scheme would "simplify" the private rented sector in the UK.

He asked Mr Shapps: "One way of reducing the regulatory burden on landlords but also improving the safety and security for tenants, would be to provide a central, standardised document, containing all landlord and tenant responsibilities from fire safety to anti-social behaviour.

"The planning system has benefited from a process of simplification. Can you do likewise with the private rented housing sector?"

Mr Shapps replied: "I am pleased to report that standards are certainly improving in the private rented sector, satisfaction levels are higher than, for example, in the social sector." The minister then went on to say that he "will certainly have a look at [the proposal]".

He added: "It sounds like it might be something comparative to a template lease and is something worth further consideration."

The move by the minister could have something to do with the increasing size of the private rented sector. With house prices resolutely high and first-time buyers struggling to get a foot on the property ladder, there is a growing market for landlords.

New figures from Paragon indicate that this trend is continuing. Landlords, reports the buy-to-let lender, have increased their portfolio size by an average of 1.8 properties in the first quarter of 2012.

One-fifth of those polled plans to purchase more property in the next 12 months. Terraced houses are the most popular, followed by flats and semi-detached homes.

But John Heron, director of Paragon Mortgages, said even more investment is needed across the private rented sector to meet growing demand in the coming year.

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Published on: May 1, 2012

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