A landlords' association has attacked the Green Party for adopting what it calls a one-sided view of the private rental sector in its manifesto for the May 7 general election.
The National Landlords Association says the manifesto has a series of what many will interpret as attacks on landlords in proposing a series of reforms for the lettings sector, namely:
- a 'living rent' tenancy including five-year fixed tenancy agreements;
- caps on annual rent increases linked to the Consumer Price Index;
- the creation of local not-for-profit letting agencies;
- the abolition of letting agents' fees and insurance-based deposit schemes;
- the establishment of a Living Rent Commission to explore whether controls could bring rents more in line with local average incomes;
- the introduction of a mandatory licensing scheme for landlords;
- the abolition of tax breaks against a variety of expenditures, including mortgage interest relief;
- and increasing the supply of small lets by raising the tax-free amount under the Rent a Room Scheme to £7,250 a year.
The NLA claims the Greens do not take into account the demands on landlords to provide safe and decent housing for those families.
Rent Controls have been proven not to work and many landlords will just sell up and leave the sector if they are introduced it says in an official response to the party on the NLA website.
Five year tenancies will reduce the flexibility within the private rented sector that suits landlords and tenants alike, and this policy does not take into account the fact that tenants can ask for longer tenancies already under the current system claims the association.
The NLA also questions the Greens' figures regarding tax deductions and says for many landlords these are not perks, but essential if their businesses are to remain viable.
Approximately 20 per cent of NLA members recently surveyed only just recouped their costs last year and over 10 per cent made a loss says the association's statement.