I appreciate the difficulties many renters face in dealing with landlords and letting agents and I would like to assure you that action is being taken to help the 4.7 million households in the private rented sector by protecting them from rogue landlords, banning unfair fees, and ensuring they have access to longer-term tenancies.
While rogue landlords account for a minority of private rented sector proprietors, I welcome Government action to put dodgy rogue landlords on notice. In April, a national database of rogue landlords was brought in, with landlords convicted of a range of criminal offences to be included so that councils can keep a closer eye on those with a poor track record. Furthermore, landlords convicted of offences under the government's new law may also be given banning orders preventing them from leasing accommodation for a period of time, ranging from 12 months to life. An extra £2.4 million in funding for more than 50 councils tackling rogue landlords was announced in January 2019.
The landmark Tenants Fee Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, will ban letting agent fees and cap tenancy deposits at five weeks' rent. This will make renting fairer and more affordable for tenants by reducing costs and improving transparency at the outset of a tenancy. The Bill is expected to save tenants between £25 and £70 a year.
The Government has also taken steps to improve private renters' access to longer-term, family-friendly tenancies, publishing a Model Tenancy Agreement which landlords and tenants can use as the basis for longer tenancies. The Government is currently consulting on proposals to introduce minimum three-year tenancy agreements to help to provide certainty and stability to renters in the private sector.
The EHS found that private renters' average number of years in their current home when surveyed has risen since 2010-11 from 3.7 years to 3.9 years, an increase of 5 per cent. This suggests tenancies in the private sector are becoming longer-term which is why the government has moved to support this.
Chichester District Council have also launched a district-wide Landlord Accreditation Scheme. Landlord Accreditation is the recognition that a landlord has voluntarily complied with scheme standards relating to the condition and management of their properties. To join the scheme a landlord must be a 'fit and proper person', abide by the Code of Good Management and agree to accredit all his/her properties.
In some circumstances, landlords can receive financial assistance towards the cost of bringing their properties up to the standard. This scheme helps provide reassurance for residents looking for landlords they would like to rent from.