Two housing organisations have come together to fund a major research programme to improve standards in the private rental sector.
They are the TDS Charitable Foundation and the SafeDeposits Scotland Charitable Trust. They have provided £300,000 for a three year research programme covering the whole UK, conducted by a consortium of 14 institutions led by the University of Glasgow.
In the first year of research, researchers will focus on three issues.
The first is to take a global look at dispute resolution and to examine the principles, practices, and approaches that could be applied to UK housing contexts to make it easier for landlords and tenants to resolve disputes.
The team will then turn to tackling low standards in the private rented sector and explore the challenges that local authorities across the UK have in enforcing legislation, as well as possibilities for future improvement.
Lastly, researchers will examine the discrepancy across the UK between the number of private rental sector tenancies and the number of protected deposits. Despite legislation, evidence suggests that a significant number of deposits are currently not legally protected. The team will aim to identify measures to help make sure that more deposits are protected.
Dr Jennifer Harris, senior research associate for the 14-body consortium known as the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, says: “Debate continues over how policy can most effectively respond to changes in the private rented sector and this research programme will produce findings that are relevant to the challenges, policy responses and nature of the private rental sector across the UK.”