CIH welcomes proposed changes to private renting
An independent housing panel to deal with disputes between private tenants and landlords would be mutually beneficial, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Northern Ireland. The organisation is also supporting new checks on property conditions, saying it will help to boost standards.
Responding to the Department for Communities’ private rented sector in Northern Ireland – proposals for change, published today, CIH Northern Ireland director Nicola McCrudden said: “More people continue to live in privately rented homes – whether by choice or necessity, it’s vital to focus on making conditions better for both tenants and landlords.
“We are particularly pleased to see proposals around dealing with tenant-landlord disputes through an independent housing panel. Such disagreements don’t belong in a court system which is not accessible for many tenants and landlords. A low-cost dispute resolution panel could help keep disputes out of the courts.
The department’s proposals include sample checks on property conditions by councils. Ms McCrudden said: "Property standards are generally good in the sector, but tenants at the lower end of the market can live in poor conditions – it is good to see proposals for a more pro-active role for councils in enforcing standards.
She said: “What is absent from the proposals however is a licensing scheme for landlords, which we believe would undoubtedly help to professionalise the sector. Good practice in housing management can be promoted and achieved through learning. Proposals to encourage institutional investment into the sector as well as housing association involvement however will also go some way towards raising standards.
“We have been involved in helping to shape these proposals and it is encouraging to also see plans for compulsory tenancy agreements, new safety requirements relating to smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and electrical checks, and a system to regulate letting agents.”
For more information please contact Justin Cartwright, policy and public affairs manager at CIH Northern Ireland on 028 9077 8222, 07824 304 351 or firstname.lastname@example.org
1. The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards. Our goal is simple – to provide housing professionals with the advice, support and knowledge they need to be brilliant. CIH is a registered charity and not-for-profit organisation. This means that the money we make is put back into the organisation and funds the activities we carry out to support the housing sector. We have a diverse and growing membership of more than 22,000 people who work in both the public and private sectors, in 20 countries on five continents across the world.