Rented properties should be given an annual ‘Property MOT’ to ensure they’re fit for habitation, according to housing experts.
York University’s Centre for Housing Policy suggested the measure in its review into the private rented sector, unveiled today. The Evolving Private Rented Sector: its Contribution and Potential proposes that, much like a mechanic giving your motor the once-over every three years, independent inspectors should be introduced to do the same to rental properties every year.
The idea would act as a tax-deductible business cost for landlords and see electrical and gas safety certificates, energy efficiency reports and more forced to hit a basic minimum standard.
— University of York (@UniOfYork) September 10, 2018
“Unbelievably, there is currently no minimum standard that properties have to meet before they are let and as a result, millions of renters have to put up with damp, disrepair and sometimes life-threatening hazards,” said report co-author Dr Julie Rugg. “A ‘Property MOT’ would give people confidence before they sign a tenancy that the property is well-managed and that standards won’t lapse in the future, while for landlords, it offers greater clarity and protection against prosecution.”
The report, which was funded by the Nationwide Foundation, made a slew of other suggestions after warning that welfare reform is creating a “slum tenure” at the bottom end of the market. For the most vulnerable, one in three homes let are classed as non-decent – with many tenants unable to cover rent without help from statutory or third sector agencies – while that figure falls to one in five at the top end. Rather than a problem borne from old housing stock, the study found that the condition of properties worsened the longer a tenancy went on, suggesting the problem lays with poor property management.