The Tenant As Consumer: A Welcome Development?

Conference paper


Jackson, A. 2018. The Tenant As Consumer: A Welcome Development? 9th Meeting of the Association of Law, Property & Society. University of Maastricht 31 May - 02 Jun 2018
AuthorsJackson, A.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

In a recent consultation, Strengthening Consumer Redress in the Housing Market, the UK Government invited responses on the jurisdiction of the Housing Ombudsman, with a view to improving the way in which tenants’ complaints are handled. In particular, it indicated that private landlords would be required to join a redress scheme, where the penalties for poor conduct may include fines, banning orders and prosecution. Against that background, this paper will argue that the consultation is part of a wider trend towards the consumerisation of the private rented sector. By way of example, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, letting agents must display any fees, charges or penalties that may be payable, while an ‘unfair’ standard term in a tenancy agreement will not be binding on the tenant.
Although these developments may appear welcome, they must be treated with a degree of caution. There is a risk that by categorising a tenant as a consumer, insufficient consideration will be given to the property rights she has in her home. So, while a redress scheme may ensure that a tenant receives a reasonable service from her landlord, there is little to prevent her from being evicted or the landlord raising her rent to a level that is unaffordable. For that reason, this paper will conclude that to improve a tenant’s position, her property rights must be strengthened to provide for rent control and greater security of tenure.

KeywordsHousing; Landlord and Tenant Law; Consumer Law; Property
Year2018
Conference9th Meeting of the Association of Law, Property & Society
Publication process dates
Deposited29 Jun 2018
Accepted01 Apr 2018
Accepted01 Apr 2018
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/84884

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