PLANS for a landlord registration scheme have been supported by an overwhelming number of respondents to a public consultation.
The Department of Social Care’s proposals for a landlord registration scheme aim to improve the quality of accommodation at the lower end of the private rented sector.
An eight-week consultation was launched in February and elicited more than 100 responses including those from tenants, landlords and letting agencies.
A total of 82.7 per cent of respondents agreed there should be a landlord registration scheme and 87.8 per cent said there should be a standard of decency for private sector rented accommodation.
Eighty per cent thought it was right to have a set of standards that landlords must meet in order to be registered – and 69.3 per said one of those standards should be that the landlord be defined as a ‘fit and proper’ person, taking into account any relevant criminal convictions.
Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw MHK said: ‘Good quality, decent accommodation can make a real difference to people’s lives and it is part of government’s responsibility to help make this happen.
‘I am totally committed to improving the living standards and tenancy conditions of those living in poor quality private rented accommodation and landlord registration is the first step in this process.’
A voluntary landlord registration scheme will be introduced before the end of the year. Further consulting will take place later in the year on the proposed legislation that will provide a statutory basis for the mandatory registration of private landlords.
Support for the proposals isn’t universal, however. One respondent described it as a ‘badly thought through piece of legislation which seeks to put landlords into a ‘bad’ category and tenants into ‘good’. ‘Poor investment returns on property letting will result in the collapse of the market with houses up for sale,’ he added.
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