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Too much red tape: We reveal over 125 rental laws and regulations

There are now well over 125 pieces of legislation and regulations - most introduced in modern times - governing the private rental sector, according to research undertaken by Letting Agent Today.

While almost any activity that has existed for hundreds of years will inevitably have a substantial body of law applying to it (and renting property has certainly been around for centuries in the UK) the sheer number of pieces of legislation still on the statute books and applying to agents and/or landlords adds weight to the argument put forward by some bodies that the lettings sector has far too much red tape. 

However, the total of over 125 tells only part of the story, for LAT’s research suggests that over 80 of those laws and statutory regulations have been introduced since 1990 - an indication of how governments of both major parties have been squeezing the sector with additional bureaucracy.


As the remaining 55 or more measures date back almost 300 years, this gives a clear snapshot of how legislation and regulation of the private rental sector has rapidly accelerated in the modern era. 

Since the Conservative-led coalition government came to office in 2010, over 20 laws or regulations have come into effect; in the single decade of the 1990s, during the Thatcher era and the early Blair years, there were over 30 measures.

Much of the industry and the wider public would of course welcome many individual measures - after all, the sector now represents around 20 per cent of households, and UK society is today more conscious than ever of health and safety, consumer redress and financial transparency. 

In addition many of the oldest examples of laws - although technically still operational - are unlikely to be invoked today; the longest-standing of them all, we believe, is around 290 years old. 

Even so, the very large number of individual laws and regulations introduced piecemeal in recent years in particular lend weight to the argument that it is time for someone - perhaps our new housing minister - to consider rationalising the bureaucratic burden of agents and landlords. 

Below is the full list of measures we believe apply to the private rental sector today.

[LAT thanks the Residential Landlords Association, House of Commons Library and the Competition and Mergers Authority for its earlier research on this subject. If there are laws or regulations we have missed, do please let us know on press@lettingagenttoday.couk.]

Acts of Parliament or statutory regulations which impact partly or wholly on the private rented sector:

- (Tenants Fees Bill 2017-2019 still going through Parliament, not yet law)

- (Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2018, still going through Parliament, not yet law)

- Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Banning Order Offences) Regulations 2018

- Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents) Regulations 2018  

- Housing and Planning Act 2016

- Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements Regulations 2015 

- Selective Licensing of Houses (Additional Conditions) (England) Order 2015

- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 

- Deregulation Act 2015

- Consumer Rights Act 2015 

- Immigration Act 2014

- Housing (Wales) Act 2014 

- The Redress Scheme for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc) (England) Order 2014 

- The Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Approval and Designation of Schemes) (England) Order 2013 

- Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013

- Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013

- Construction (Design and Management) Regulation 2012 

- Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 

- Energy Performance of Building Regulations 2007 to 2012 

- Social Security (Notification of Change of Circumstances) Regulations 2011 

- Energy Act 2011 

- Equalities Act 2011 

- Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008

- Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 

- The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007

- Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007 

- Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 

- The Administration Charges (Summary of Rights Obligations) (England) Regulations 2007 

- Service Charges (Summary of Rights and Obligations and Transitional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007

- Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements)(England) Regulations 2007 

- Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007

- Health Act 2006 

- Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 

- Selective Licensing of Houses (Specific Exemptions) (England) Order 2006 

- Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Descriptions) (England) Order 2006 

- Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and other houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006

- Housing Health and Safety Rating System Regulations 2005 

- Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 

- General Product Safety Regulations 2005 

- Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2005 

- Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 

- Housing Act 2004 

- The Electrical Safety Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002 

- Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 

- Enterprise Act 2002

- Private Water Supply Regulations 2001 

- Housing Benefit Regulations 2001 

- Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 2001 

- Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 

- Utilities Act 2000 

- Building Regulations 2000 

- Rent Act (Maximum Fair Rent) Order 1999 

- Greater London Authority Act 1999 

- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 

- Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 

- Unfair Contract Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 

- Data Protection Act 1998 

- Gas Safety Regulations 1998

- Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) Regulations 1997 

- Party Wall Etc Act 1996 

- Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1996 

- Housing Act 1996 

- Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 

- Gas Appliance (Safety) Regulations 1995 

- Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 

- Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 

- Plugs and sockets etc (Safety) Regulations 1994 

- Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 

- Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994 

- Leasehold Reform etc Act 1993 

- Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993

- Clean Air Act 1993 

- Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 

- Local Government Finance Act 1992 

- Council Tax (Chargeable Dwellings) Order 1992 

- Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992 

- Council Tax (Liability of Owners) Regulations 1992 

- Social Security Administration Act 1992 

- Water Industry Act 1991 

- Environmental Protection Act 1990 

- Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) 

- Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 

- Electricity Act 1989 

- Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 

- Electricity at Work Regulation 1989 

- Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1988 

- Furniture and furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 

- Landlord and Tenant Act 1988 

- Housing Act 1988 

- Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 

- Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 

- Gas Act 1986 

- Insolvency Act 1996 and Insolvency Rules 1986 

- Business Names Act 1985 

- Housing Act 1985 

- Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 

- County Courts Act 1984 

- Building Act 1984 

- Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982

- Rent Books (Form of Notices) Regulations 1982 

- Housing Act 1980 

- Limitation Act 1980 

- Housing Act 1980 

- Notices to Quit (Prescribed Information) Regulations 1980 

- The Regulated Tenancies (Procedure) Regulations 1980 

- Rent Regulation (Cancellation of Registration of Rent) Regulations 1980 

- Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 

- Rent Act 1977 

- Protection from Eviction Act 1977 

- Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 

- Criminal Law Act 1977 

- Control of Pollution Act 1974 

- Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 

- Defective Premises Act 1972 

- Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 

- Cost of Leases Act 1958 

- Sexual Offences Act 1956 

- Rights of Entry (Gas and Electricity Boards) Act 1954 

- Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 

- Leasehold Property (Repairs) Act 1938 

- Public Health Act 1936 

- Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 

- Law of Property Act 1925 

- Law of Distress (Amendment) Act 1908 

- Common Law Procedure Act 1852 

- Distress for Rent Act 1737 

- Landlord & Tenant Act 1730 

  • Jane Gardner

    Can't see this one, always a fun one to deal with...
    The Taxation of Income from Land (Non-residents) Regulations 1995

    I actually thought there were a few more than 125 but that's enough!!


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