The Government has assessed housing conditions for older tenants in the private rental sector (PRS), following a report from Age UK.
David Mackintosh, the Conservative MP for Northampton South, questioned the Housing Minister over what steps the Government is taking to improve housing conditions for older tenants in the PRS.
Gavin Barwell responded with a series of measures that have been introduced recently, which he believes will “improve standards for all tenants”.
He explained that £12m has been made available to a number of local authorities to help tackle rogue landlords, including issues such as beds in sheds. More than 70,000 properties have been inspected, while over 5,000 landlords are facing further enforcement action or prosecution as a result of this step.
Tenants have also been protected from retaliatory evictions where they have a legitimate complaint, while landlords have been prohibited from serving an open-ended eviction notice at the start of a tenancy, under new section 21 rules.
In addition, landlords are now required to install smoke alarms on each floor of their property and test them at the start of every tenancy, and to fit carbon monoxide alarms in all rooms with solid fuel burning appliances.
“The PRS is an important part of our housing market, housing 4.3m households in England,” insists Barwell. “The quality of privately rented housing has improved rapidly over the past decade, with 82% of private renters satisfied with their accommodation and staying in their homes for an average of four years.”
He continues: “We are determined to improve standards for all tenants, and local authorities have strong and effective powers to deal with poor quality, unsafe accommodation and crack down on the small minority of rogue landlords. We expect those powers to be used. They include the ability to require improvement works to be carried out, and prohibiting the use of a dwelling where it is unsafe.
“The Housing and Planning Act 2016 introduced further powers to help crack down on rogue landlords, including a database of rogue landlords and property agents, banning orders for the most serious and prolific offenders, civil penalties of up to £30,000, and extended Rent Repayment Orders.”
In response to the Age UK report, Ageing in Squalor and Distress: Older People in the Private Rented Sector, which was published in October 2016, Barwell claims it holds “useful information about the challenges faced by older people who rent privately”.
However, he did not directly address the issues faced by older tenants in the PRS, referring to the sector as a whole: “While the majority of landlords provide decent, well-managed accommodation, we know that a small number of rogue or criminal landlords knowingly rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation.”
Landlords, do you let to older tenants? Remember to consider their needs and challenges when it comes to providing homes for these renters.
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