Law News

Government policy for rented housing is failing

Em Morley - February 14, 2020

Data released yesterday has demonstrated the failure of government policy for the private rental sector (PRS), landlords have claimed.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is warning that private sector rents are set to increase by 2% over the next year. This will be a result of the demand for such housing exceeding supply, as landlords start to leave the sector.

Recent tax increases, the restriction of mortgage interest relief to the basic rate of income tax, and the 3% Stamp Duty levy on the purchase of extra houses have already put pressure on many landlords.

Alongside this, the database of rogue landlords is being massively underused, with only 18 individual landlords and property agents and five companies being registered for offences committed since April 2018.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) points out that this means either the number of problem landlords is not as high as many have argued or local authorities are focussing too much time on licensing good landlords instead of rooting out the criminals.

On top of this, statistics published yesterday show that it now takes an average of almost six months for courts to process claims for repossession of a property.

The RLA argues that during this time tenants could be refusing to pay rent, behaving anti-socially or causing damage to the property.

John Stewart, Policy Manager for the RLA, said: “This series of statistics clearly show the negative impact of government policies. At the end of the day, it is tenants who are suffering. 

“The drop off in supply caused by good landlords who find operating in the market more difficult means it is increasingly difficult for tenants to secure somewhere to live and they are then faced with higher rents.

“Ministers need to change course and instead of attacking the private rented sector, there should be policies and taxation to encourage growth in the supply of rental accommodation to meet the ever-increasing demand.”