§ Mr. Batiste
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what further measures he proposes to take to increase the amount of private rented accommodation available; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Tracey
In recent months, we have taken a number of measures to increase the amount of private rented accommodation available. The requirement that increases in registered rents should be phased over two years has been abolished, as has the requirement to register a fair rent on a shorthold letting in Greater London. The assured tenancy scheme, which permits letting at market rents, has been extended to cover improved, as well as new, dwellings. The Housing Corporation is giving grants to housing associations for rental schemes combining private and public finance, with particular emphasis on accommodation for homeless people and job movers. In the Local Government Bill, we are seeking new powers for local authorities to give financial assistance towards the provision of privately rented accommodation.
We have made it clear that a priority task after the election will be further measures to stimulate the private rented sector by ensuring that landlords can receive a reasonable return on their investment while adequately protecting the security of tenants.