Improving compliance with private rented sector legislation

Project summary

UK governments have introduced a range of mechanisms which aim to improve standards and management practices in the private rented sector. However, existing evidence suggests that local authorities may face multiple challenges in exercising those powers effectively in practice, and that enforcement strategies and approaches will vary significantly between different local authorities. There is currently a lack of research exploring how various approaches to enforcement are shaped on a local level, and the principles and approaches which may contribute to effective enforcement.

This research project will investigate how local authorities are enforcing the law aimed at tackling low standards in the UK private rented sector. Methods include key stakeholder interviews from national landlord and tenant groups and case studies with a sample of nine local authorities. The study aims to provide suggestions for how enforcement in the UK private rented sector can be improved.

The project will include a separate paper exploring how regulatory theory, compliance research and system-based thinking can assist in developing ideas for improving compliance in the sector more broadly.

Timeline: July 2019 – February 2020

Team: Dr Jennifer Harris (Lead Researcher), Professor David Cowan (Co-Investigator), Professor Alex Marsh (Co-Investigator and Theme Lead), and Dr Gareth James (Knowledge Exchange)

Theme: Governance

Publication: Improving compliance with private rented sector legislation

Blog: Rethinking regulation: How to improve standards for private renters

Policy briefing: Improving compliance and enforcement in the private rented sector: Information for UK and devolved governments

Practice briefing: Improving compliance in the private rented sector: Information for local authorities