More than a roof: How incentives can improve standards in the private rented sector

The private rented sector is growing and, as it expands, it is housing an increasingly diverse group of tenants, including a higher proportion of people across every income decile and a growing number of families with children. However there are still a range of challenges associated with the sector which need to be addressed. These include variable standards of property condition and housing management, concerns regarding affordability and some households’ ability to access the sector and a growing demand from some tenants for greater levels of security than are currently on offer.

Addressing these challenges will require some clarification of basic legal minimum standards. However there are limits to how far legislation can go and risks associated with relying entirely on legislative/regulatory options when dealing with an extremely diverse sector, which is made up of a number of distinct sub-markets. We, therefore, think that a combination of a clearer and better enforced set of minimum legal standards and a stronger role for accreditation and incentives is required.