Buy to let investors many quit the sector if proposals in the Northern Ireland Private Tenancies Bill go-ahead in their existing form, agents have told politicians.
ARLA Propertymark’s Daryl McIntosh has told the Northern Ireland Executive that some proposals in the bill are welcome - but others not.
The warning came in McIntosh’s evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Communities; it’s considering the Private Tenancies Bill which wants to boost safety standards and improve security for tenants in Northern Ireland.
The Bill includes provisions for restrictions on the frequency of rent increases, changes to Notice to Quit periods, caps on deposits, and powers to introduce regulations on minimum energy efficiency standards and electrical safety.
McIntosh told politicians at the committee: “It’s a lot about balance, everybody wants tenants to have rights, and make sure they are secure in their home, but on the other side is the property owner. Generally, a landlord will have a reason to recover their property and there should be grounds for possession to meet that reason.”
“Bear in mind that a notice to quit doesn’t automatically give the property back it’s just an intention, serving a six-month notice can then lead to a year if the tenant does not vacate the property, which is a long time if it’s a case of rent arrears.”
He continued: “The unintended consequence would be landlords leaving the sector due to costs, bad experience or not having fair access to justice.”
A Democratic Unionist politician on the committee, Paula Bradley, spoke up for the private rental sector by saying: “We want to make sure we get a balanced bill. We want to make sure our tenants are protected but we also want to ensure we have longevity within the private rented sector because we rely so heavily on it here.
“The vast majority of our landlords are very good, excellent landlords and we can’t lose sight of that.”