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Mark Jordan

Since the late 1980s private residential tenancy law in the United Kingdom has been premised upon market rents and extremely limited security of tenure. The extent to which these qualities are promoted through the assured shorthold – the default private residential tenancy – marks the United Kingdom out has having one of the most extreme regulatory models in Europe. Even more remarkable is the strong growth in private renting in the United Kingdom during this period. European policy makers, eager to develop private renting, have increasingly turned to the British model as a means of promoting renting in other European countries. Yet just as the model gains popularity abroad, it has come under intense pressure at home which has culminated in root and branch reforms being proposed in the devolved Governments of Scotland and Wales. This chapter seeks to place the assured shorthold regime within a European context before outlining how European reformers have adopted elements of the British model in order to promote renting across Europe. The chapter then goes on to describe the impact which political devolution within the United Kingdom has had on residential tenancy law.