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Rented Housing: Community Development

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether she has assessed the effect of the increase in privately rented accommodation on (a) community relations and (b) neighbour disputes; (211082)

(2) what recent representations she has received on the responsibilities of private landlords to ensure that their tenants behave responsibly towards neighbours and the wider community;

(3) what assessment she has made of trends in the proportion of privately-rented properties owned by absent landlords on former council estates over the last 20 years; and what assessment she has made of the effects of such trends.

This information is not held centrally. However, as part of their strategic housing role, local housing authorities make assessments of the extent, condition and location of the private rented stock in their areas together with the impact on local communities.

Where local housing authorities consider that there is a need to exert more control on the management of the private rented sector in specific neighbourhoods in their area, it is open to them to introduce selective licensing regimes alongside other strategic initiatives and subject to the consent of the Secretary of State. So far, seven such schemes have been introduced by five local authorities. We are aware of several other schemes in preparation. The Department has commissioned an independent review of the private rented sector which may offer a view on the issues raised. It is scheduled to report in October 2008.