Private Rented Housing

Department for Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will estimate the number of properties in the private rented sector which (a) reach and (b) do not reach the Decent Homes standard.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

Holding answer received on 10 February 2015

The table below shows the number and proportion of dwellings in the private rented sector which reach the Decent Homes standard over the last five years.

The private rented sector has expanded in size in this period (with almost one million more homes), yet both the absolute and relative number of non-Decent Homes have fallen.

Reaching standard

Not reaching standard

2008

1,847,000

56%

1,449,000

44%

2009

2,123,000

59%

1,465,000

41%

2010

2,325,000

63%

1,381,000

37%

2011

2,610,000

65%

1,407,000

35%

2012

2,754,000

67%

1,365,000

33%

This Government has taken a series of actions to help improve standards in the private rented sector.

To encourage improved conditions, we have increased consumer awareness and supported longer tenancies with a ‘How to Rent’ guide, a model tenancy agreement, and an industry-led Code of Practice for letting and managing agents. We have introduced regulations to require the remaining 3,000 letting and property management agents to join one of three approved redress schemes from 1 October; made over £4 million available to 23 local authorities to help them tackle localised problems with the small minority in rogue landlords in their area – building on £2.6 million given to 9 local authorities to support enforcement against ‘Beds in Sheds’; and supported measures to tackle retaliatory evictions in private rented sector.

However, we also need to avoid disproportionate red tape which would reduce supply, cut investment and ultimately force up rents. As an illustration, my written answer of 9 February 2015 to Question 222996, noted how rent controls would actually worsen property conditions for tenants by discouraging investment in new and existing rented accommodation.

I would also add that, in the social sector, the number of non-Decent local authority dwellings across England has fallen from 291,600 in 1 April 2010 to 145,900 in April 2014, with a forecast of a further fall to 113,000 by April 2015.

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