Councils increasingly do not have the capacity and capability to provide ‘appropriate and consistent protection for private renters’, according to a new report from the Public Accounts Committee.
The report, on the regulation of private renting, found that despite record rent increases, 13 per cent of rented homes ‘pose a serious threat to the health and safety of renters’ – costing the NHS an estimated £340 million a year.
It is too difficult for tenants to ensure their legal right to a safe and secure home, and local authorities are constrained by a lack of support from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and its approach to licensing landlords.
“Everyone deserves a safe, secure, and affordable place to live; this is critical for health and wellbeing in all our communities.”
The report says the DLUHC should assess the resources needed for local authorities to regulate the sector and consider whether councils would benefit from an easier system to set up local landlord licensing schemes.
The LGA gave evidence to the committee, outlining its long-standing calls that the best way to increase housing security is to address the unaffordability of housing – by empowering councils to build more affordable homes, reforming Right to Buy, and addressing issues in the welfare system, including inappropriate local housing allowance rates.
An LGA spokesperson said: “The LGA recognises the need for measures to improve housing security for tenants.