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New initiative warns MPs of Labour’s flawed proposals

From Property Talk Live on July 17, 2014

As Labour continues to develop controversial policies designed to protect tenants from rogue landlords, Belvoir is issuing MPs and tenants with a stark warning of the negative impact of these policies. 

“In recent weeks we have seen media reports of many controversial policies by Labour, such as the proposed banning of tenancy fees, introducing rental caps and statutory long-term tenancy agreements,” says Dorian Gonsalves, Belvoir’s Director of Commercial and Franchising.

“We are concerned that many MPs may not be fully aware of the likely impact of these policies. As the general election draws nearer, Belvoir’s franchise owners across the network are committed to writing personal letters to their MPs, informing them of the potential consequences should Labour get into power and implement these flawed policies.

“Research on the ban on tenant fees in Scotland has already resulted in tenants paying up to £300 more in rents each year. A statement released by The National Landlord Association (NLA) also rubbished Ed Miliband’s proposals, labelling them as poorly thought through and completely unworkable.

“In order for MPs to make an informed decision about Labour’s proposals we feel they should be fully informed of the work that lettings agents do on behalf of tenants as well as landlords. Belvoir agents are inviting MPs to meet with them so that they can fully explain the enormous protection and benefits that, for a minimal fee, tenants currently enjoy. Several Belvoir franchise owners have already received very positive responses from their MP.

“At present Belvoir manages around 30,000 properties across the UK and in the 19 years we have been trading we have dealt with hundreds of thousands of tenants. As well as contacting their local MPs, Belvoir franchise owners also intend to write to tenants, informing them of Labour’s plans and pointing out the negative impact of these flawed policies.

“The truth is that every day reputable lettings agents such as Belvoir are saving tenants money. For example, every day our agents are contacted by landlords who want to charge tenants for everything from loose tiles on the roof to broken drainpipes. Some landlords take the view that if a property was fine when a tenant moved in then the tenant should pay for every little thing that goes wrong during the tenancy when it is not their responsibility at all.

“With regards to the proposed introduction of capped rental increases across the country, the majority of landlords have not increased rents at all since 2008. This is supported by the findings of Belvoir’s rental index for Q1. It is only in London and the South East where massive increases have been seen, and in these areas a cap of 3% will make no real difference, but could have a negative impact on landlords in other parts of the country, particularly when interest rates rise. Many landlords may feel forced to sell off their portfolio, thereby reducing the stock of rental properties even further. For this reason Belvoir franchise owners are also writing to landlords to raise awareness of Labour’s proposals.

Zoe Bywater, owner of Belvoir Bedford recently wrote to Tory MP Richard Fuller and says: “In the reply I received from Richard Fuller he agreed that a ban on tenant fees would just mean higher rents by the back door and would ultimately harm tenants. He also agreed that the majority of lettings agents provide a good service to both tenants and landlords and the Government is determined to tackle the minority of rogue agents who offer a poor service.”

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Source: Property Talk Live