The impact of regulatory reform on the private rented sector

The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is piloting legislation that will reform the regulation of the private rented sector in England (the Renters (Reform) Bill, 2023). All regulatory changes have the potential to influence the operation of a market. The question is the nature and extent of those changes and the market responses they elicit. This report aims to review the evidence regarding the impacts that regulatory change in the private rental market might be expected to have on housing supply, quality, landlords’ investment/disinvestment decisions, and other important societal outcomes. The focus is on non-price regulation.

The core research questions are: (1) What are the findings of research undertaken over the past twenty-five years on the relationship between regulation of the private rented sector and landlord investment behaviours? (2) Is there empirical evidence that non-price regulation of the private rented sector results in disinvestment? The full report has six main sections. Section 2 provides a brief account of the current state of the private rented sector (PRS) in England; the potential impact of regulation on investment; and recent policy developments. Section 3 is a summary of the method adopted (further discussed below). The fourth section is a discussion of the methodological challenges facing the empirical literature seeking to assess regulatory impacts. These are challenges which have implications for the extent to which the findings of the reviewed papers can be interpreted as speaking to this study’s core research questions. The next two sections move on to look at the main findings from the review differentiating between direct (section 5) and indirect (section 6) evidence. Section 7 presents the report’s conclusions.

Read the report below


Date: November 13, 2023 9:26 am

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