'Risky' private lets sector should be improvedLandlords should be licensed, says review

24 October 2008

Private landlords should be licensed and tenants should have access to an independent complaints procedure, says an independent review of the private rented sector.

The review was commissioned by the Government to look at the problems tenants and landlords face in the private rented sector.

As well as a light touch licensing system for landlords, it recommends new tax rules which encourage good landlords to grow, including changes to stamp duty to encourage them to buy more properties.

Protection for tenants

The Government has already introduced measures to help improve the private rented sector including Tenancy Deposit Protection, which has now safeguarded £1 billion of tenants' deposits.

This latest review recommends tenants should have access to a new independent complaints and redress procedure for consumers, to help end long drawn out disputes.

Local authorities should also take steps to better understand the rental sector and support good landlords while tackling poorly performing landlords and promoting tenants' rights.

Unscrupulous landlords

Housing Minister Margaret Beckett welcomed the report, saying: ‘Whilst the majority of people are satisfied with their experience of renting, there is still much more to do to protect the most vulnerable tenants from the minority of unscrupulous landlords.

‘At the same time, this report shows we need to look at how we can raise standards and improve services across the board in the private rented sector.’

Tenants can discover key things to consider when looking to rent in our viewing rental properties guide.

RSS feeds

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed here. If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste this link into your newsreader: http://www.which.co.uk/feeds/reviews/news.xml . Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to news feeds