The Commission on the Private Rented Residential Sector has been asked to report by 1 June of this year. The Government has in the past two years provided significant additional support and protections for people in private rented residential accommodation. Substantial increases in tax relief for tenants renting private rented accommodation were announced in the budget last December and take effect today.
Targeted incentives for the provision of student accommodation were introduced in the Finance Act, 1999. I am pleased to say that some 1,100 places will be available by October of this year and over 7,500 places are at various stages of planning.
The protection afforded to tenants under the registration of rented houses regulations has also been improved. In January last, the regulations were amended to provide that the onus is now on the landlord to prove that a dwelling is exempt from the requirements of the regulations and to remove the exemption from the regulations on the grounds that the letting is of a temporary convenience nature. Registration now applies to every house let as a dwelling for rent or other valuable consideration, subject to limited exceptions.
The report of the Commission on the Private Rented Residential Sector will be examined carefully and I expect that the commission's recommendations will provide a firm basis for the future development of this key housing sector.