A statement from ARLA Propertymark has hinted that it believes politicians may be out of touch with the reality of how the private rental sector works.
Daryl McIntosh, Policy Manager for Propertymark, has responded to the latest move by the Welsh Government to yet again extend the notice period which landlords must give tenants - it’s at least six months.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 includes a range of powers for Welsh Ministers including the ability to extend existing pandemic-specific evictions rules. For the past 12 landlords and agents have had to give six months’ notice; this was first due to run out at the end of June but was extended to September 30. Now it’s been extended to the end of the year.
McIntosh says on behalf of AR:A: “ The current narrative around the private rented sector is out of touch; it forgets that many landlords do not have untold wealth and that they too are facing mounting financial liabilities with property related bills of their own.
“The Welsh Government continually moving the goal posts for landlords who have been deeply affected and agents who are trying to mediate does not create a solution, it simply prolongs and intensifies debt issues for both tenants and landlords.
“Couple this with the fact that the extensions do not seem to be based on any empirical data, and those who have taken a pragmatic approach at the beginning of the pandemic by budgeting for certain losses are now finding themselves blindsided.
“Many agents are reporting a loss of stock, but demand is growing; to provide homes for the 207,700 households who rely on the private rented sector, it’s important that its contribution is recognised and that the demonisation of letting agents and landlords stops.“
Welsh housing minister Julie James - who came up with the idea of the latest extension - says: “The purpose of this alteration is to ensure that during a time when case numbers and hospitalisations are increasing and the virus remains a serious threat to public health, landlords will continue to give increased notice to tenants before they can issue proceedings for possession.
“The effect will to be to delay evictions meaning that fewer people will face eviction into homelessness at a time when this might exacerbate the spread of the virus and when local authorities are less able to respond to these situations.
“Also, those renting their homes will benefit from increased security and reduced anxiety; and individuals at risk of eviction will be provided with increased time to seek support to resolve any problems, including applying to the Tenancy Hardship Grant scheme, which I introduced in July.”