Agents and many industry bodies have expressed their disappointment and anger at many provisions of the Housing White Paper produced by the government.
“Many of the proposed changes to the rental market will only see costs passed onto tenants through increased rents over the longer term” says Paul Smith, chief executive of Haart, who adds: “Sajid Javid has declared the UK housing market as ‘broken’, however has failed to produce the tool kit to fix it.”
Patrick Littlemore, director of lettings at Marsh & Parsons, says he welcomes some of the extra safeguards set out for renters in the White Paper but adds “it is important to note this works both ways - legitimate landlords must also have protection against rogue tenants, retaining the right to lawfully evict and any restrictions on this could spell disaster.”
He says three year family tenancy agreements are a good move to provide greater security and stability for renters that want it, so long as the tenant abides by the Housing Act.
“The government should make sure that measures announced do not dent enthusiasm in the private rental sector among landlords. The buy-to-let sector took a substantial hit with the increase of Stamp Duty in April last year and additional burdens could make this un-attractive” Littlemore warns.
The Residential Landlords’ Association is also dismayed.
Whilst welcoming the government’s plans to encourage Build To Rent corporate landlords to offer longer tenancies, it says 25 per cent of individual buy to let landlords are prevented from offering tenancies longer than a year by their mortgage lender or insurer.
“The White Paper falls a long way short of the radical changes for renters that we were promised. There may be more Build To Rent resulting from this in our large towns and cities, but without any plans to support the hundreds of thousands of smaller landlords who make up the bulk of the supply, there will continue to be a major shortage” warns RLA policy director David Smith.
Isobel Thomson, chief executive of the National Approved Letting Scheme, says she is pleased at the government’s shift of focus towards the rental market but adds to warnings that “institutional investment cannot currently meet this demand” from tenants wanting longer tenancies.