One of the leading lettings sector trade bodies has unveiled what it describes as “a positive vision for the private rented sector” ahead of the General Election.
The Residential Landlords Association says the sector is regarded too much as a problem which requires management. Instead it urges a positive, ambitious programme which supports tenants and good landlords whilst rooting out the crooks.
The RLA’s manifesto for the private rented sector encourages political parties to build on the positive developments in the market.
This includes 84 per cent of private tenants being satisfied with their accommodation - a higher proportion than the social sector - that private tenants have been living in their current properties for an average of over four years and that 88 per cent of private tenancies are ended by the tenant.
It says that over recent years the private rented sector has become an important source of housing for growing numbers of families with children, older people, the homeless and students and young people who need to swiftly access new work and educational opportunities.
Among the RLA’s key proposals are improving access to justice for tenants and landlords when things go wrong by developing a housing court, supporting vulnerable tenants by ending the Local Housing Allowance cap and ensuring councils have the resources to find and root out criminal landlords using the wide range of powers they already have.
With warnings of noticeable rent rises as a result of the demand for private rented housing outstripping supply, the RLA is calling on all parties to boost supply by scrapping the stamp duty levy on additional properties where landlords provide homes adding to the net supply of housing.
It calls also for a rejection of all forms of rent controls which the RLA argues would serve only to dry up the supply of homes to rent, reducing choice for tenants and thereby increasing rents overall.
RLA policy director David Smith says: “For too long we have let the actions of a minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute dictate the debate around rented housing. Whilst we must find and root out such people we cannot let it distract from the positive news in the sector.
“The vast majority of landlords and tenants enjoy good relations, with many tenants staying long term in their rental properties. It is important that we build upon this record, ensuring pro-growth policies to ensure a sufficient supply of homes to rent, supporting vulnerable tenants and ensuring tenants and landlords can access justice more quickly if things do go wrong.
“We call on all parties to accept our positive, pragmatic programme for the sector and end the unnecessary scaremongering which is causing many tenants to live in fear.”