The Guardian published the following article last Friday.
Cross-party group’s report suggests nationwide banning orders, a national licence for landlords, plus a guide for tenants on renting a property, to tackle problems in the private rented sector.+

Rogue landlords should be subject to nationwide banning orders to prevent them from letting substandard properties to vulnerable tenants and a new kite mark developed to show when a rented home is up to scratch, according to a report by MPs and peers.+

With the number of homes let by private landlords now greater than the UK’s social rented sector, the all-party parliamentary group for the private rented sector said the regulatory system governing property investors needed a full review to determine if it was fit for purpose.+

It set out a number of measures it said the government should consider, including the introduction of a national licence for landlords, more training for those letting properties, and nationwide banning orders, similar to those used for company directors, to prevent those breaking the law from continuing to operate as landlords.+

The group’s report, Creating a better private rented sector, also recommended that the government create a single guide for tenants on renting a property, including a checklist of questions they should ask, and that landlords should provide details of the utility bills associated with the property they are renting.+

Clearer guidance to courts on how they can deal with rogue landlords and a review of the data on safety levels in the private rented sector should also be considered, the MPs said.+

In 2012/13 the private rented sector accounted for 18% of households, double the low point of 9% it fell to in 1992. The most recent figures showed nine in 10 landlords were private individuals, and 78% owned just one rented home, so there are a large number of lenders operating in the sector.+

The group’s chairman, Oliver Colvile, said: “Given the growing importance of the private rented sector it is important that consideration is given to how it should be run to provide sufficient protection to tenants and support and encourage the majority of good landlords while rooting out those who reap misery for tenants.+

“Today’s report provides a number of ideas to ensure that the sector is fit for the 21st century and the group hopes and looks forward to all political parties giving serious consideration to this detailed work.”