Calling for a long-term approach to the private rented sector

I am the strongest supporter of private landlords as they are individuals who we all depend upon to provide much-needed housing in this country. Quite simply, without them we would not have a private rented sector. But also, having been in residential letting for over 35 years, by far and away most private landlords I have worked with care about providing a suitable and safe home for their tenants. Most tenants I work with, are very happy with their rental property. This makes for a situation everyone benefits from – the landlord keeping long-term tenants in a property they look after well and tenants who enjoy the home, they have made for themselves. 

With the latest announcements last week, and some of the accompanying media coverage, it feels like the Government has shot itself in the foot, with what appears to be broad brush suspicion and mistrust of private landlords. 

The publication is the Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper, that claims it will ‘redress the balance between landlords and tenants in the private rented sector.’ The measures will form part of the Renters Reform Bill that was announced in the Queen’s Speech and will be introduced into Parliament later in 2022. And in turn, is part of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) wider reform agenda to improve lives and level up the country. 

There are some 1.75 million landlords in the UK and approximately 20 million PRS tenants and even the DLUHC states that most private rented homes are of good quality, offering safe, comfortable accommodation, but this work is to shake up the PRS in an attempt to address and improve the quality of accommodation offered by so-called rogue landlords.

So why not do more to really target these rogue landlords who offer sub-standard property, more often than not to tenants who are least able to challenge these poor practices or move on elsewhere to better property. Why not do more to regulate agents, to the level of Propertymark agents as Pennington is, so that rogue landlords are not enabled by perhaps equally rogue agents.

I outlined a couple of weeks ago that the PRS is shrinking and it is a market that we can ill afford to lose property from. The number of properties available to rent through letting agents halved in the month of March between 2019 and 2022. During the same period 94% of private landlords who removed their property from the rental market did so to sell it and over half of the rental properties sold in March this year alone did not return to the private rented market.

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark hit the nail on the head when he stated: “If Ministers really do want to create a ‘fairer private rented sector’, they must work with us to ensure these reforms are carefully balanced and any interventions to achieve short-term objectives do not constrain the market in the longer term.”

I will keep you updated and as always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further information on this or anything else.