Friday, February 05, 2016 Last updated at 15:30

Review of the role and regulation of the private rented sector in Northern Ireland

Last month we told you about the review of the role and regulation of the private rented sector that the Department for Social Development were carrying out in Northern Ireland.

Since then we have submitted our views which will now be collated and considered along with those of others before the department report back on stage two with firm proposals for change. We will of course keep members updated as soon as this is released.  

In our response to the extensive five chapter, 24 question, discussion paper we include suggestions for improvements and raise concerns over particular areas of the PRS sector in Northern Ireland including:

  • We'd like to see more incentives for developers to build houses for rent
  • More land should be contributed by Local Authorities for building rental properties
  • A large scale building regime should be undertaken which would also stimulate the Northern Ireland economy by creating jobs for the construction industry and suppliers
  • More funding for more apprenticeships, high quality training and innovation for the construction industry
  • There should be Capital Gains Tax roll-over relief where proceeds are re-invested into rental properties
  • Concerns over licensing schemes that penalise compliant landlords whilst allowing rogue landlords to continue to operate under the radar 
  • Enforcement issues with licensing schemes
  • The London Rental Standard should be refered to as a good example of an alternative to licensing scheme
  • We argue for betters ways of dealing with tenants who display anti-social behaviour
  • We call for all letting agents to be professionally qualified and mandatory CPD
  • Compulsory CMP for all letting agents to help protect tenants and landlords
  • Revise eviction process to make more cost effective and quicker 
  • Setting up a new housing court or tribunal to resolves disputes, providing greater consistency, more expertise and swifter justice
  • Introduce additional safety measures, such as smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to make living in rented property more desirable and safer. 

>> VIEW OUR DETAILED SUBMISSION TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Background

The aim of the review is to consider the current and potential future role of the sector and assess the effectiveness of current regulation, identifying where improvements can be made to help make the private rented sector a more attractive housing option. 

The Discussion Paper has five chapters and twenty four questions in total covering:

  • Role of the private rented sector
  • Supply and investment
  • Housing and Tenancy Management
  • Property Standards
  • Equality and Screening

The review came about because the Department for Social Development’s Housing Strategy Action Plan 2012-2017 commits them to undertake a review of the private rented sector.