Law News

Landlords Call for Change of Attitude to Rental Sector from Tory Candidates

Em Morley - July 1, 2019

Landlords are urging Prime Minister candidates to make changes to improve the private rented sector (PRS) in the UK.

As well as the recent call to scrap Right to Rent, a letter has now been sent, asking Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson to led the Conservative Party to adopt a more positive approach to the PRS.

The letter from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) warns the interests of tenants are not being well-served by policies that are reducing the supply of homes to rent.

Government data has highlighted that 10% of landlords representing 18% of all tenancies in the sector are planning to reduce the number of properties they let. 5% of landlords representing 5% of tenancies plan to leave the sector completely. The RLA has its own research, suggesting that 46% of landlords are planning to sell some or all of their properties. 

This comes following Conservative policies aimed at dampening investment in the market. This includes imposing a tax on landlord investment in new homes to rent, meaning that landlords looking to invest in new rental housing are being hit by a 3% Stamp Duty levy.

The most recent government proposal has been to scrap Section 21, limiting the ability of landlords to repossess properties when they need to.

As a result of the reduction 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 Conservative candidates to back its 5 point plan for the sector. This includes:

–    Pro-growth taxation to ensure enough homes to rent to meet growing demand

–    A fair system for repossessing properties, protecting tenants from unfair evictions, whilst retaining the confidence of landlords to regain possession of their property where there is a legitimate need. This should be coupled with a dedicated housing court, to settle disputes swifter and easier

–    Supporting vulnerable tenants by ending the Local Housing Allowance cap.

–    Rooting out criminal landlords by providing councils with more resources to better use the powers they already have.

–    Rejecting any form of rent control that will only dry up the supply of homes to rent, therefore reducing choice for tenants and increasing overall rents

David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said:

“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. 

“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.”