Research by a lettings sector trade body has revealed precisely how outdated some regulations are.
According to the latest analysis, by the time Royal Assent is given to the Building Safety Bill - introduced into the House of Commons yesterday - the number of statutory provisions applying to the sector in England will have risen by 40 per cent over the last decade to 168 laws.
This includes the Landlord and Tenant Act 1730 and the Distress for Rent Act 1737.
The National Residential Landlords Association says that far from the private rented sector being under-regulated - as some critics suggest - the matrix of current laws mean councils are unable to enforce them effectively.
Association chief executive Ben Beadle comments: “The laws underpinning the private rented sector are not fit for purpose. They are failing to protect responsible landlords and tenants from the actions of those who bring the sector into disrepute.
“As ministers consider further reforms it is urgent that we understand the ability of councils to properly enforce these as well as existing regulations. We also need to use this opportunity to ensure laws reflect the realities of a modern private rented sector.”
The government is to publish a new White Paper on the private rented sector in the autumn; ahead of that, the NRLA is calling for an assessment to be made of the ability of councils to enforce the wide range of powers already available to them. It is warning that proposals to improve the sector for tenants and responsible landlords will be critically undermined if regulations cannot be enforced properly, which would serve only to help those providing sub-standard accommodation.
The association also wants a full review by the Law Commission of the current laws applying to the sector to establish if they are fit for purpose and to propose updated and potentially consolidated legislation fit for the 21st century.