It is estimated that there are in excess of eight million unfit homes in England and that one in five excess deaths are attributable to poor housing conditions, costing the NHS some £1.4bn per year. While the policy focus tends to be on housing supply, it is the private rented sector (PRS) that is a key vehicle for provision. The pandemic has given rise to some unexpected outcomes, not least in regulating that sector. This paper will consider how strategies have changed and generated new modes of regulation in the sector, which may have important longer-term effects for the relation between tenant and landlord. Using the frame of vulnerability and risk theories as a starting position, the paper will critique the role of law in allocating landlord rights and responsibilities. It will look at the implications of moving towards an appreciation of the relational, as opposed to physical aspects of housing provision in regulating landlord behaviour and the attendant risks of so doing. It will be argued that the literatures of vulnerability and risk only make sense if a further element is added in this case: the notion of hope.