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Regulation of private renting

The number of people living in private rented accommodation has doubled in the last 20 years, and there are now an estimated 4.4 million privately rented households in England. While most tenants have a good experience of renting, those who do not can end up with serious illness, financial issues or homelessness.  

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) sets the overall policy and regulatory framework, and aims to ensure the sector is fair for tenants. Local authorities are responsible for regulating the sector and protecting tenants by ensuring landlords and agents comply with relevant obligations. MHCLG is currently developing reforms in this area, focusing on security and quality of private renting. 

This study will examine the extent to which the regulation of private renting in England supports MHCLG’s policy aim to make the sector fair for renters. It will cover:   

  • Whether MHCLG has a clear regulatory strategy to meet its aims, based on a good understanding of problems for private renters;  
  • whether the regulatory regime, including oversight by MHCLG, incentivises and supports landlords to treat tenants fairly and comply with regulations; and  
  • The extent to which consumers are empowered to enforce their rights when things go wrong, and whether regulatory interventions are targeted at those in most need.  

This report builds on the NAO’s past work on regulationconsumer protection and local service delivery