The new Conservative government must focus on raising standards across the private renal sector according to one of the industry’s leading letting agencies.
Oxford-based Finders Keepers - which has eight offices, over 100 members of staff and manages over 2,400 properties each year - says there are three key issues for the new administration to address.
These are poor property standards, poor service standards from both letting agents and landlords, and finally high rents.
“The Conservatives have an incredible opportunity to do the right thing by regulating letting agents. Regulation is long overdue and ultimately, the only solution to rising rents is supply, supply, supply.Hopefully the Tories will seize this opportunity” says Dan Channer, the agency’s managing director.
He says he wants more incentives for landlords to invest in their properties. “Tax breaks on improvements and a simplified Green Deal would be welcome. A clearer Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), a risk assessment system used by councils to ensure properties are safe for habitation, would also encourage greater investment” he says.
Arguably of even greater importance is the regulation of letting agents. “The industry has long called for its own regulation to rout out rogue agents and landlords but successive governments have repeatedly missed opportunities to do so” according to Channer.
But he says perhaps the biggest overall challenge is to build more new homes.
“The red tape that has thwarted planning permission for new homes needs to be eradicated. The population of the UK, and in particular the south east, is expected to boom over the next 10 years and unless sufficient homes are built to meet this demand, an entire generation will be unable to afford a home of their home. This will also push up rents, exacerbating the housing crisis” says Channer.