HC Deb 07 September 2004 vol 424 c1177W
Mr. Love

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what research his Department has carried out into potential policy mechanisms aimed at stimulating growth in the private rented sector. [187532]

Keith Hill

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is committed to securing a larger, better-quality, better-managed private rented sector. The Housing Bill currently before Parliament includes a number of measures, the licensing of private rented properties, designed to help achieve this objective.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's research has recently focused on aspects of the condition and management of properties in the private rented sector which are key to building market confidence.

Recent research carried out for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has included: powers for private sector housing renewal; the housing health and safety rating system and houses in multiple occupation; tenancy deposit schemes; the economics of the park homes industry; run-down private sector housing; fiscal policy options to promote affordable housing; voluntary accreditation schemes: and harassment and unlawful eviction of private sector tenants and park home residents.

The English House Condition Survey (EHCS) is also used to monitor overall improvements in the sector.

Mr. Love

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what measures his Department is taking to stimulate private sector involvement in the delivery of(a) shared equity and (b) privately-rented accommodation. [187536]

Keith Hill

The Housing Bill, currently before Parliament, contains a provision that would allow the Housing Corporation to pay grants to bodies other than Registered Social Landlords (RSLs). Such grants would be essentially for the same housing purposes as the Corporation's grants to RSLs. This could include the provision of shared equity schemes such as Homebuy.

The Government are keen to secure a larger contribution from the private rented sector towards meeting housing need. Measures in the Housing Bill should raise the standards, the professionalism, and the reputation of the sector. Consultations are also under way on ways of encouraging new institutional investment in residential property, including the use of Property Investment Fund.

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