Ahead of the General Election, landlords have unveiled a positive vision for the future of the private rental sector (PRS).
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has highlighted that too much attention is given to the idea that the sector is a problem requiring management. Instead, it argues that really it needs a positive, ambitious programme for the sector. This should support tenants and good landlords, whilst rooting out the crooks who have no place in the sector.
The RLA’s manifesto for the PRS encourages political parties to build on the positive developments in the market. This includes:
- 84% of private tenants stating that they are satisfied with their accommodation (a higher proportion than the social sector)
- Private tenants have now been living in their current properties for an average of over four years
- 88% of private tenancies are ended by the tenant
The RLA also points out that the PRS has grown to become an important source of housing for families with children, older people, the homeless and students and young people in need of access to new work and educational opportunities.
Its key proposals include:
- Improving access to justice for tenants and landlords by developing a housing court
- Supporting vulnerable tenants by ending the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) cap
- Ensuring councils have the resources to find and root out criminal landlords using the wide range of powers they already have
With warnings of noticeable rent rises as a result of the demand for private rented housing outstripping supply, the RLA believes scrapping the Stamp Duty levy on additional properties for landlords providing homes will add to the net supply of housing.
It also calls for a rejection of all forms of rent controls, which the RLA argues would serve only to dry up the supply of homes to rent, reducing choice for tenants and thereby increasing rents overall.
David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, said: “For too long we have let the actions of a minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute dictate the debate around rented housing. Whilst we must find and root out such people we cannot let it distract from the positive news in the sector.
“The vast majority of landlords and tenants enjoy good relations, with many tenants staying long term in their rental properties. It is important that we build upon this record, ensuring pro-growth policies to ensure a sufficient supply of homes to rent, supporting vulnerable tenants and ensuring tenants and landlords can access justice more quickly if things do go wrong.
“We call on all parties to accept our positive, pragmatic programme for the sector and end the unnecessary scaremongering which is causing many tenants to live in fear.”