Landlords and agents should be required by law to provide their tenants with insurance when they sign up to a new tenancy.
The insurance would be paid for by the landlord, but available for the tenants to use – to be able to put in place repairs should the landlord refuse, or to secure legal advice in the event of a dispute.
The idea has come from agent Ajay Jagota, of Kis Lettings, who has submitted it to the Government’s CLG inquiry into the private rented sector. The inquiry is looking into a variety of proposals, including rent controls and the mandatory regulation of agents and landlords.
Jagota, whose company manages almost 700 properties across the North-East, said: “Over 50 Acts of Parliament already regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants. The real problem is tenants not knowing their rights, and not having the resources to enforce them when they do.
“Change is needed, but regulation is not.
“Our recommendation to the inquiry is that agents and landlords should be required by law to provide mandatory private redress insurance for tenants signing up to a new tenancy.
“This would empower tenants to quickly make repairs if landlords prove unwilling or unresponsive and to quickly and affordably secure legal advice and support in the event of disputes with agents or landlords.
“As premiums would inevitably rise for landlords or agents who fall short of the required standards, they too would have a significant financial interest in providing and maintaining services and facilities of a high standard.
“Whatever recommendations the CLG inquiry makes, we would urge them to make empowering tenants the focus.
“Whatever solutions the committee proposes must not make it harder, or even impossible, for the smaller and independent operators who make up so much of the market to compete and even to function at all.”