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Housing minister urges PRS tenants to know their rights

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Housing minister urges PRS tenants to know their rights

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Regulation

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Housing Minister Kris Hopkins has urged tenants in the private rented sector to know their rights with the launch of the 'How to Rent' guide.

Hopkins said that encouraging a new generation of well-informed tenants with easy access to useful and understandable information would help root out the small minority of rogue landlords and raise the game of any landlords who don’t know what is expected of them.

The launch comes as the government confirmed plans to require all letting agents to publish a full tariff of their fees - both on their websites and prominently in their offices. Anyone who does not comply with these new rules will face a fine – a much stricter penalty than currently exists.

The 'How to Rent' guide, which can be viewed on smartphones and tablets, includes:

• Advice and information on tenancy deposit schemes, bill payments and tenancy length.
• A checklist of what the landlord must provide tenants, including gas certificate and deposit paperwork.
• Information on the requirements of the landlord to maintain the structure of the property and give tenants at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property.
• The legal requirements for landlords and tenants on ending tenancies and returning deposits.

Kris Hopkins said: “This government is turning up the heat on the small minority of rogue landlords that are not playing by the rules and giving tenants a rough deal.

“The new How to Rent guide will give tenants the knowledge they need at their fingertips and help raise the game of landlords who may not know what is expected of them.

“We are doing all of this without the need for excessive state regulation that would destroy investment in new housing, push up prices and make it far harder for people to find a flat or house to rent.”

Darryl Flay, chief executive of Essential Living, said: “Many vilify rented accommodation because of stories of rogue landlords and poor conditions. This is an unfair representation, but in a sector dominated by individual, often amateur, landlords, people take what they can get because in many cases, they cannot get any better.

“We believe people deserve more and today’s guidelines will be helpful in empowering consumers to demand higher standards. But the solution is the provision of professionally managed rental communities, funded by major investors.

“Renting is vital to support Britain's mobile workforce, but to make better rental housing a reality, planning guidelines need to be stronger and financial viability models need to reflect the fact that building for long-term rent is not the same as traditional housebuilding.”

Ian Fletcher, director of policy, British Property Federation, said: “As people find it increasingly difficult to get a foot on the property ladder and the number of renters increases year on year, it is important for tenants to be properly equipped to deal with the rental market.

"The majority of landlords offer a good-quality, professional service for tenants, but the complexity of letting a property can provide fertile ground for those who seek to exploit the unwary. Ensuring that tenants are aware of what they should expect from a tenancy is an important step in making sure that the rental market operates at a high standard.” 

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