Letting agents and landlords are to be reviewed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate consumer rights within the private rented sector (PRS).

The watchdog will assess the experience of renters in order to “help landlords and intermediaries to understand their obligations”.

Consumer enforcement by the CMA will include a focus on tenant’s experiences of finding somewhere to live, renting a property and moving between homes.

As part of this work, CMA will consider the relationship between tenants and landlords and the role of ‘intermediaries’ such as letting agents.

The review of the PRS will run alongside a review into the UK’s housebuilding sector.

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA (see image above), said: “The quality and cost of housing is one of the biggest issues facing the country. Over the past few years, the CMA delivered real change for leaseholders, with tens of thousands of homeowners receiving refunds after being overcharged unfair ground rents.”

“With that work nearly finished, we’re now looking to probe in more detail two further areas – the housebuilding and the rental sectors.”

“If there are competition issues holding back housebuilding in Britain then we need to find them. But we also need to be realistic that more competition alone won’t unlock a housebuilding boom.”

“In the same vein, we want to explore the experiences people have of the rental sector and whether there are issues here that the CMA can help with.”

“We will of course be guided by the evidence, but if we find competition or consumer protection concerns we are prepared to take the steps necessary to address them.”

Comments can be submitted by 20 March 2023 and the CMA will report its initial findings and proposed next steps this summer.