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Govt launches investigations into renters’ rights and housebuilding

Written by: John Fitzsimons
Government agency The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has begun two separate inquiries into the challenges faced by private rental landlords and their tenants, as well as the housebuilding sector.

The investigation into private landlords and tenants has been launched after the regulator uncovered issues during its probe into leaseholds. 

It wants to develop its understanding of the issues in the rented market and over a three-month period will engage with stakeholders in England, Wales and Scotland to identify consumer protection issues for landlords and their tenants. 

The investigation will look at the experience of tenants from finding a place to live, renting a property and moving homes. 

Concerns over the cost and availability of homes

The CMA’s market study into housebuilders has been raised following concerns about the cost and availability of homes. It said builders may not be delivering homes at the scale or speed needed by consumers. 

The probe will focus on four areas – housing quality, land management, local authority oversight and innovation. 

The report on the market study will be published on 27 February 2024. 

Taking steps to address the issues

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said: “The quality and cost of housing is one of the biggest issues facing the country. Over the last few years, the CMA delivered real change for leaseholders, with tens of thousands of homeowners receiving refunds after being overcharged unfair ground rents. 

“With that work nearly finished, we’re now looking to probe in more detail two further areas – the housebuilding and the rental sectors. 

“If there are competition issues holding back housebuilding in Britain then we need to find them. But we also need to be realistic that more competition alone won’t unlock a housebuilding boom.” 

She added: “In the same vein, we want to explore the experiences people have of the rental sector and whether there are issues here that the CMA can help with. 

“We will, of course, be guided by the evidence, but if we find competition or consumer protection concerns we are prepared to take the steps necessary to address them.” 

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