Wednesday, 02 September 2015

CIH: regulate private sector

The Chartered Institute of Housing has called for more regulation to maintain standards in the private rented sector.

A report, Making the most of Northern Ireland’s private rented sector to meet housing need, which was published on Monday, suggests that improving access to and affordability of the private rented sector in Northern Ireland could help house more people.

It asked the Northern Irish Government, which collaborated in writing the report, to raise awareness of the positive aspects of living in the private rented sector.

The Northern Irish Government introduced measures to help councils regulate private landlords in June this year, including powers to enter a private property to test its quality.

The CIH has recommended rolling out the Smartmove advice service - a scheme to help vulnerable people get decent private sector housing across Northern Ireland - and giving housing associations a property management role in helping maintain standards.

The minister for social development, Nelson McCausland, said: ‘I welcome all work to improve standards in the private rented sector which is such an important part of the housing sector, this paper clearly demonstrates - particularly through the personal stories of tenants - that the sector is becoming more professional in the provision of housing to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.’

Working with the department for social development and housing advice service Smartmove, the CIH has also launched a new CIH Level 2 Certificate for Landlords to provide information on legislative requirements, dealing with complaints and disputes, financial considerations and knowing how to properly maintain property.

It is the first CIH qualification specifically designed for the private rented sector landlord.

The CIH in Northern Ireland has also appointed Jim Dennison as chief executive this week. Mr Dennison will be on a fixed-term contract until November next year. He was previously head of learning and development.

Former Northern Ireland chief executive Grainia Long is currently interim chief executive of the CIH in England. In November she will retain the post or move back to Northern Ireland.

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