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Responses to the review of the Private Rented Sector show split opinions on landlord licensing

The Department for Social Development has released a summary of responses to the Review of the Role and Regulation of the Private Rented Sector.

The consultation ran from 12 November 2015 – 5 February 2016.  85 responses were received. 43.37% of responses where from landlords. 2.41% came from tenants. Other responses came from landlord representatives, council representatives, housing professionals and voluntary organisations.

Split opinions on the Private Rented Sector

54.79% of respondents did not believe landlord licensing is needed in Northern Ireland. Landlords stated it would increase their costs and administration rather than address rogue landlords. Councils and others, such as Housing Rights and the Private Tenant’s Forum, believe it should be introduced to ensure good practice.

64.29% of respondents do not believe that landlord accreditation is needed in Northern Ireland, while others who agree with it felt it should be an integral part of the licensing scheme.

57.35% of respondents did not feel that further regulation of the private rented sector was required.

Strong support for regulation of Letting Agents

87.32% of respondents felt that the regulation of letting agents needs to be addressed, as they are the only point of contact between the tenant and the landlord and there is currently no qualifications or professional standards they adhere to.

Agreement on improving property standards

97.44% agree on the importance to enforce a minimum property standard to homes in the private rented sector with some respondents noting this needs to be addressed as a matter of priority. Many respondents called for the introduction of the Housing Health and Safety rating system as the new statutory fitness standard, in line with England and Wales.

There was also some agreement that longer term tenancies were a good thing (71.83%), current notice to quit periods were appropriate (78.46%), the current eviction process is not fit for purpose (86.57%).

Tenants underrepresented

While briefing the Social Development Committee in early March, Department officials acknowledged that tenants' views were under represented and explained the steps that had already been taken to encourage members of the public to get involved in the consultation process. Conscious of the high response rate from landlords and their representatives the Department has asked each of the three deposit schemes operating in Northern Ireland to issue a questionnaire to tenants to ensure that tenants' views are also heard.  Department officials hope to get 10,000 responses from tenants via this mechanism.

Tenants who wish to complete the survey can do so by following this link before 31 March or by completing a pop up survey on the "Advice for private tenants" section of our housingadviceNI website.

 

Tagged In

Regulation, Private Tenancies
This article was written on 25 March 2016. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.