1. Rent Officers in England are employed by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
2. They have a statutory duty to collect and record residential private market rental data and carry out rental valuations.
3. They are responsible for several important tasks.1‘Rent Officer Duties’ (GOV.UK), accessed 30 January 2023 These include:
- maintaining a register of fair rents, which sets the maximum rent that can be charged for a ‘regulated tenancy’. These are also known as ‘protected’ or ‘secure’ tenancies.
- determining the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) based on private market rent levels. The LHA is a type of housing benefit that is designed to help people with low incomes pay for their housing.
- making determinations under the housing benefit local reference rent system which have a role in determining the amount of HB in certain cases and the subsidy local authorities receive from central government.
4. The rental information collected by Rent Officers is also used to produce Private Rental Market Statistics that are published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The statistics are based on a sample of private rental data collected from landlords and letting agents and recorded in the VOA Lettings Information Database. The sample size varies by region, and data is extracted for a 12-month period ending September of each year. The statistics are available in published bulletins on the ONS website. 2‘Private Rental Market Summary Statistics in England – Office for National Statistics’, accessed 30 January 2023
5. The Rent Officer Handbook is a manual primarily provided as practice guidance for Valuation Office Agency Rent Officers.3‘Valuation Office Agency: Rent Officer Handbook’ (GOV.UK), 22 February 2017, accessed 30 January 2023 It is organised according to the types of statutory work undertaken by Rent Officers.
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