Property MOTs for the Private Rented Sector

A review into the private rental sector has suggested introducing property MOTs, in response to what it claims are failures to properly regulate the market.

The report carried out by Dr Julie Rugg and David Rhodes from the University of York, found that one in five homes of the most expensive rented properties do not meet the Decent Homes Standard and that one in three of the cheapest rental properties fail the standard, which is the level of condition required of council and housing association owned homes.

Declining rates of home ownership and a shortage of social housing were identified as contributing factors to the strain and reliance on the private rental market.

Dr Rugg, senior research fellow at the University of York’s Centre for Housing Policy, conducted a similar research project in 2008, and has criticized successive government’s lack of vision and disjointed policies and regulations concerning the sector.

The report suggests an MOT-style system for checking and licensing private rented sector homes, with independent inspectors assessing the fitness of properties and licences listed on a national database.

Dr Rugg added: “A property MOT would give people confidence before they sign a tenancy that the property is fit for purpose, and that standards won’t lapse in the future, while for landlords, it offers greater clarity and protection against prosecution.”

Nottingham City Council has already launched a selective licensing scheme for landlords, in an attempt to drive up standards in privately rented properties. The question remains whether similar schemes will emerge in response to this report.

Elmhurst is very supportive of this check and believes that an EPC is the ideal measurement stick for adequate standards, and therefore domestic energy assessors are ideally placed to deliver extended assessment to which the report refers.

Article published 10th September 2018

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