Are Property MOTs the Next Step for Rental Regulation?

The introduction of MOT-style certificates would represent the next logical step towards raising overall standards in the private rental sector, so some would suggest.

The suggestion for MOT reports of rental properties was put forward as part of a major review of the private rental sector conducted by Dr. Julie Rugg and David Rhodes, titled The Evolving Private Rented Sector: Its Contribution and Potential.

MOT-style reports would indicate whether a property is fit for letting and the system would ensure that all private rental housing would be required to meet a minimum standard.

It has already been confirmed that the Government will review private rental sector health and safety regulations in 2019. And the Chief Executive of industry trade body ARLA Propertymark (the Association of Residential Letting Agents), David Cox, has already called for MOT reports to be introduced as part of this review, in order to make the sector’s health and safety regulations less complicated and more practical.

Furthermore, the concept of MOT-style reports for the private rental sector also fully suits the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill, which is set to become law this spring. The Bill will require homes to be fit for human habitation before being let, with the aim of reducing problems such as damp, mould and unsafe living conditions.

The legislation will also give tenants powers to take legal action against their landlord in the court for breach of contract if their property is not fit for human habitation.

“Property MOT reports are a fantastic idea. As we can see from the work the Government is doing around the private rental sector, this innovation would fit squarely with their aims and mark another step towards raising the standard of privately rented properties.

Are Property MOTs the Next Step for Rental Regulation?

“A uniform and easy-to-understand system would provide clarity for landlords and tenants, helping to eradicate poorly maintained homes with health and safety issues from the private rental sector.”

Property MOTs would also complement all-important inventory reports.

“An MOT report, ensuring a property meets a minimum standard, alongside an independently and professionally compiled inventory, would ensure that everything about a property’s condition and contents is suitably documented at the start of a tenancy,” he explains. “This would protect all sides of the rental transaction, and reduce the chances of either landlords or tenants being unfairly left out of pocket at the end of a contract.”

As more people rent for longer, expectations of private rental housing are on the rise, Lyons adds.

“Landlords should no longer be able to get away with letting shabby properties to tenants with no other choice,” he insists. “The vast majority of tenants are now looking for their landlords to provide accommodation that they can treat as their home, potentially for the long-term, and the Government can help to make this a reality by ensuring that all properties are let to a minimum standard.”