Regulating the private rented sector: Millennial themes

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Purpose: This paper considers the evolution of government policies regarding the provision of housing in the private rented sector and the regulation of landlord behaviour by mapping this onto known regulatory theory. It argues that the current regulatory trajectory is highly problematic both from the perspective of land law (by further attenuating the conception of property rights) and indeed regulatory compliance.

Design/methodology/approach: The approach maps successive governments’ policy stance, what is known of the configuration of the sector and the current demand for housing against evolving regulatory theory (in particular compliance). The piece draws on both property theory and economic analysis.

Findings: Enrolling private sector landlords to enforce policies, other than those relating to the landlord and tenant relation (as indicated by the “right to rent” provisions), and attempts at professionalizing the sector may be highly problematic. Furthermore, the growth of regulation may impose an increasing regulatory burden on a significant proportion of the sector, namely, the smaller landlord especially those owning who own only one property.

Research limitations/implications: The hypothesis has not been tested aside in a generalized manner by making reference to the evidence obtained by other researchers and landlord associations. It is for other researchers who may wish to test the hypothesis empirically.

Practical implications: This paper includes a view that has not (to the author’s knowledge) been expressly articulated by Government or through its policies and is one which it may wish to reflect upon.

Originality/value: This paper adopts a novel stance by deploying regulatory theory with understandings of property to highlight potential adverse effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-168
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law
Issue number2
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Housing
  • Property Law
  • Regulation
  • Housing Crisis
  • Private rented sector
  • private landlords

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