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New all-party inquiry announced into letting sector

The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector is launching an inquiry into how to improve standards and how to regulate the private rented sector.

The inquiry follows the housing minister, Mark Prisk, telling the group in February that the Government’s key objectives for the sector was for it to be “bigger and better”.

The secretariat to the group is the Residential Landlords Association.

This latest inquiry will get under way as the ongoing inquiry by the cross-party committee at Communities and Local Government into the private rented sector enters what are due to be its final stages.

Evidence for the new inquiry is being invited from all interested parties about how standards in the sector could be raised and what is the optimum level and form of regulation. A report will be produced with recommendations being made to ministers.

As well as written submissions, meetings will hear from invited experts, with the first session taking place on May 14 when members of the group will have the opportunity to question witnesses on improving safety in the private rented sector. This follows the release of figures in the English Housing Survey for 2011/12 reporting that 21% of properties in the sector have at least one safety hazard.

Announcing the inquiry, chairman Martin Vickers, MP for Cleethorpes, said: “All the official figures show that the private rented sector is now the only housing tenure growing. Whilst good news for those in need of a home as well as supporting economic growth, this increase in the size of the sector needs to be sustainable.
“Growth of this kind naturally increases choice for tenants who may then be able to avoid poor-quality stock. 

“This inquiry, however, will assess how to ensure that this is matched by measures that improve safety in the sector as well as securing a regulatory system that supports growth, whilst rooting out the minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute and cause misery for tenants.

“I would encourage all those with an interest to have their say.”

Those with an interest in these subjects are invited to provide written submissions of no more than 1,500 words by May 1 to Ed Jacobs by emailing admin@prs-group.org.uk

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