Online letting agency easyProperty has hit out at Labour's proposed lettings industry reforms, reported earlier this week on Letting Agent Today.
The agency has written to the party saying that specific policy proposals such as longer tenancies, rent caps and additional licensing may deter investment, make it harder for borrowers to meet the requirements of buy to let mortgage lenders, and reduce choice in the private rental sector.
The letter from easyProperty chief executive Rob Ellice - just the latest in a series of attacks on Labour's proposals from within the lettings sector - is reproduced in full here:
Unless flexible exemptions are incorporated into Labour's proposals for the private rented sector [PRS], it is difficult to see how a longer minimum tenancy requirement would work with landlords as well as benefiting many tenant demographics.
For existing landlords, proposals for longer minimum tenancy requirements could raise questions in terms of the validity of many buy-to-let mortgages, almost half of which include conditions that do not permit certain tenancy lengths, such as those over twelve months.
Labour's proposals are also likely to ward off property investment and restrict housing supply. Small or accidental landlords may be reluctant to let their home during a temporary job move for example, while potential investors may avoid the sector if substantial yields are not possible.
From a tenant's perspective too, minimum tenancies of three years are not reflective of a large majority of renters' lifestyles, who like the freedom and flexibility to move location, house, job etc. The average UK tenancy is 19 months, while students, who make up such a large proportion of the rental market, have an average tenancy agreement lasting just nine months. How then are such restrictive requirements likely to be of benefit
We don't need more restrictive regulation for landlords, including licensing and rental caps which are only likely to suffocate the private investment that the capital's rental sector desperately needs to support its residents.
Flexibility is the key to the success of the PRS market and rent controls, including the potential introduction of minimum three year tenancies, are inflexible. Their introduction of these would restrict both landlord and tenant choice; only deterring the very investment into the PRS sector that we need to support generations of renters.
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