Landlords want new PM to be more positive towards private rented sector

Sheffield is popular with students, meaning high rental demand

Landlords want the candidates to lead the Conservative Party and be the next British Prime Minister to adopt a more positive approach to the private rented sector.

In a letter sent to Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson the Residential Landlords Association warns that the interests of tenants are not being well served by policies which are reducing the supply of homes to rent.

According to Government data, 10% of landlords representing 18% of all tenancies in the sector plan to reduce the number of properties they rent out whilst 5% of landlords representing 5% of tenancies plan to leave the sector altogether.

Indeed, recent RLA research suggests that 46 per cent of landlords are planning to sell some or all of their properties and the organisation points out that this comes following a raft of Conservative policies aimed at dampening investment in the market, including an extra 3% stamp duty on landlord investment in new homes to rent.

It adds that most recently the Government has proposed limiting the ability of landlords to repossess properties when they need to and as a result of the fall-off in investment, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned that expectations for increasing rents are now at their highest point for three years.

The RLA is calling on the leadership candidates to back its five point plan for the sector which calls for pro-growth taxation to ensure enough homes to rent to meet growing demand.

It also includes a call for a fair system for repossessing properties that protects tenants from unfair evictions whilst retaining the confidence of landlords to regain possession of their property where there is a legitimate need. The RLA says this needs to be coupled with a dedicated, housing court to settle disputes swifter and easier.

The plan says there should be support for vulnerable tenants which could be done by ending the Local Housing Allowance cap, stronger action against rogue landlords by providing councils with more resources to better use the powers they already have and a commitment to rejecting all forms of rent controls which serve only to dry up the supply of homes to rent, reducing choice for tenants and thereby increasing rents overall.

‘The new Conservative Prime Minister needs to reconsider the approach to the private rented sector. Otherwise the situation for tenants will just get worse as they face less choice and higher rents because of a growing shortage of properties,’ said David Smith, policy director at the RLA.

‘We need a raft of changes that will encourage more investment in high standard homes rather than efforts to scapegoat landlords for failures by successive governments to build enough homes,’ he added.

(c) Property Wire, July 2019