Some laws for residential lettings date back to 1730

According to the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) by the time the forthcoming Building Safety Bill is given Royal Assent, the number of statutory provisions applying to the sector in England will have risen by 40 per cent over the last decade to 168 pieces of legislation.

The NRLA is warning that far from the private rented sector being under-regulated, the sheer number of laws means councils are unable to enforce them properly.

Laws underpinning the private rented sector are not fit purpose as new research reveals that some date back to the 18th century, such as the Landlord and Tenant Act 1730 and the Distress for Rent Act 1737.

The NRLA’s report, “Not under-regulated but underenforced: the legislation affecting private landlords in England”, can be accessed here.

The Government is pledged to develop a new White Paper on the private rented sector in the autumn. The NRLA is calling for a full assessment of the ability of councils to enforce the wide range of powers already available to them. It is warning that proposals to improve the sector for tenants and responsible landlords will be critically undermined if regulations cannot be enforced properly, which would serve only to help those providing sub-standard accommodation.

It is calling also for a full review by the Law Commission of the current laws applying to the sector to establish if they are fit for purpose, and to propose updated and potentially consolidated legislation fit for the 21st century.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, says, “The laws underpinning the private rented sector are not fit for purpose. They are failing to protect responsible landlords and tenants from the actions of those who bring the sector into disrepute.

“As Ministers consider further reforms it is urgent that we understand the ability of councils to properly enforce these as well as existing regulations. We also need to use this opportunity to ensure laws reflect the realities of a modern private rented sector.”

Stamp Duty tax relief may have ended at the start of this month but there’s still a lot of interest in the buy to let market in Wimbledon. If you would like to discuss something related to a property valuation please contact Clive Scrivener, Partner, direct via email at or call 020 8971 2983.