Last month’s local election results could yet impact on the private rental sector, a prominent industry supplier claims.
The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks says it’s clear that council tax, landlord licensing, planning applications, and the cost of living crisis were key topics that shaped voters' decisions.
Labour did particularly well in London and some other cities while the Liberal Democrats gained the most council seats nationwide.
AIIC chair Daniel Evans says some Labour politicians, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, have been keen advocates of rent controls and greater licensing and regulation of the private rented sector. The Liberal Democrats and the Greens have also mooted the idea of some form of rent controls in the past, too.
Evans adds: "If the rollout of more selective licensing schemes does get approved, it could mean an additional cost for landlords as well as private landlords facing stricter safety and management standards.
“There seems to be a common agenda to improve the private rented sector by tightening rules. Landlords who rely on processes such as inventories will remain in good standing if rent controls, further licensing and reform are brought forward.”
However the absence of a clear direction from voters, combined with ongoing controversies over the Prime Minister, may yet delay rental reform yet again.
Evans concludes: “Overall, the local election results have probably made the landscape more uncertain than ever, with the most likely result at the next election – based on current vote share and the polls – being a hung parliament with no party claiming a majority.
“Such uncertainty could make getting anything through Parliament a difficult task, while the current cost of living crisis, along with the war in Ukraine and the ongoing fallout from Covid and Brexit, is keeping parliamentary time to a premium and creating a legislation logjam.
“For all the talk of rental reform being introduced soon, an under-pressure government facing two tricky [Parliamentary] by-elections doesn’t bode well for the speed and clarity the industry requires.”