A New Deal for Tenants

thumbnail of Final UNISON New Deal for Tenants April 2022This is UNISON’s response to the proposed reform of the private rented sector.

High private rents and house prices are pricing public service workers out of housing. Our younger members especially experience high rents, insecurity and poor-quality accommodation in the private rented sector (PRS). They tell us that they are struggling with their rent, are unable to get a mortgage and have given up on getting social housing.

  • UNISON supports the aim of strong and robust regulation of the PRS but we believe a significant increase in the supply of homes for social rent must accompany this.
  • We support a points-based system of rent controls that links rent levels to both local incomes and housing quality.
  • Linking rent levels to housing quality and the required energy efficiency standards will incentivise PRS landlords to invest in upgrading their properties.
  • Improving the standard of private rented housing requires more than legislation. Strong proactive enforcement is critical if regulation is to be effective. Including the whole of the PRS within a new Housing Standard will significantly increase the workload for already overloaded staff.  If the legislation is to make a difference for tenants, then there must be investment to increase the capacity of the local authority workforce responsible for enforcement. Without this it will not be possible to hold private landlords to account and enforce tenants’ rights in a meaningful way.