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Zoopla backs rental reforms despite agents’ reservations

Zoopla - which in recent years has gone out of its way to win agent support - has come out strongly in favour of the government’s proposed rental reforms.

This is despite the agents’ body Propertymark accusing the measures of being unfair to the lettings industry.

Zoopla’s Richard Donnell, the portal’s executive director of research and insight, says: “With the backdrop of the cost of living crisis putting pressure on renters, these reforms are welcome and timely, particularly as they're largely focused on boosting the quality of housing in the rented sector. 


“The private rented sector plays an important role in the housing market, providing much needed homes for a wide spectrum of households. 

“These reforms mark another milestone in the journey to create a suitable equilibrium between renters and private landlords who provide the majority of homes for rent."

Donnell says the private rental sector is under pressure with some landlords quitting and he warns there is a balance to be struck between improving the quality of rented housing and encouraging investment.

But he adds that Zoopla’s lettings advisory board has called for “initiatives to improve the transparency over the process of owning and renting homes.”

These include measures similar to some of those out forward by the government - for example a property register for rented homes to help with compliance and to determine whether properties meet the Decent Homes Standard.

“There is a lot of detail to work through in how this is rolled out and Zoopla will continue to work with our advisory board and estate agency partners to seek operational efficiencies in the lettings market” concludes Donnell.

A more critical response to the government has come from the chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, Nathan Emerson.

He says: “After waiting three years to see exactly what this reform will look like, we’ve now got a set of proposals titled ‘The Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper’. 

“But there are some elements that don’t appear to be so. 

“How is it fair that a tenant can simply end a tenancy at a time of their choosing, but an agent or landlord has to present a valid reason that is defined in law?”

Emerson continues: “Our sector provides around 4.4 million households in England with a place to live. Property is a good long-term investment but the number of property owners choosing to withdraw from this area is growing.

“That’s the result of a decade of tax and regulatory burden that simply does not incentivise investment, especially for single property landlords who make up 43 per cent of the market.

“The private rental market is already under huge strain with renters outstripping available properties and we need to be able to attract new investment.

“If Ministers really do want to create a ‘fairer private rented sector’, they must work with us to ensure these reforms are carefully balanced and any interventions to achieve short-term objectives do not constrain the market in the longer term.”

The Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper marks what the government calls “a generational shift that will redress the balance between landlords and 4.4 million private rented tenants.” 

It will ban Section 21 evictions and extend the Decent Homes Standard to the private sector. 

It will also end what it calls “arbitrary rent review clauses, give tenants stronger powers to challenge poor practice, unjustified rent increases and enable them to be repaid rent for non-decent homes.”

It will be illegal for landlords or agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits.

And it will make it easier for tenants to have pets, a right which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.

All tenants are to be moved onto a single system of periodic tenancies, which in the government’s words mean “they can leave poor quality housing without remaining liable for the rent or move more easily when their circumstances change.”

A tenancy will only end if a tenant ends or a landlord has a valid reason, defined in law.

There will be a doubling of notice periods for rent increases and tenants will have stronger powers to challenge them if they are unjustified.

The government says it is also “giving councils stronger powers to tackle the worst offenders, backed by enforcement pilots, and increasing fines for serious offences.”

There will also be a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman to enable disputes between private renters and landlords to be settled quickly, at low cost, and without going to court.

What the government calls “responsible landlords” will be able to gain possession of their properties efficiently from anti-social tenants “and can sell their properties when they need to.”

There will be a new property portal that will “provide a single front door to help landlords to understand, and comply with, their responsibilities as well as giving councils and tenants the information they need to tackle rogue operators.”

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    • G W
    • 17 June 2022 07:53 AM

    Zoopla support these changes…….. they can, it won’t effect them short term as they aren’t landlord or letting agent….. medium to long term it may when letting agents stop using Zoopla as their available Lettings stock reduced as landlords sell!!!…

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    Richard Donnell needs to learn what equilibrium actually means.

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    Makes the Lettings4U platform a little more attractive @£300pcm as it offers more and not a political opinion.

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    As a landlord I will be selling my 6 rental properties. In fear of the risks of the new gov regulations directed at Landlords. The financial crises and high cost of heating, on Tenants. Will result in reduction of heating, windows closed resulting in high humidity, creating the perfect atmosphere for black mould to form on walls. The new regulations will hold landlords responsible for this. It will be too risky to provide properties for rent


    According to the Daily Mail, Ben Beadle (NRLA) landlords are welcoming the new proposals. He must be on the good stuff!

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    The NRLA which I am a member of , have proved to be a big let down for landlords. Giving no support at all.

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    Margaret, I too am a member, but seriously considering not renewing this year because of Ben’s attitude to landlords.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Ben has worked hard on behalf of NRLA & Landlords in this regard- but he's not going to win every argument. One reason Landlords struggle to be heard in these matters is a lack of engagement directly with the government. A recent survey on many of these topics from the government struggled to get 50k responses from over 2m landlords. Less than 2.5% engagement. Want your government to listen? Let them know a huge voting demographic shares a certain belief or stance. This will gain much greater effect than any or everybody/organisation doing it on your behalf.


    Ben has been noticeable by his absence. Propertymark has defended landlords more than he has and don't bother responding. Landlords struggle because there are more tenants than landlords and potential votes count for this so-called Conservative government.


    The government is well aware of the affects on votes, but it's the corporate cash they want, and votes from the labour voters.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Whilst some of this may seem scary to landlords, can we really argue it's all bad? That housing ombudsman requirement is extended to private landlords who don't use an agent (which btw is approx half the market) is surely a good thing. That S8 grounds will be strengthened and key reasons for terminating a tenancy (re-occupancy, selling, breach of contract) will be enshrined. That the Decent Homes Standard is applied is surely the right thing for consumers- I can't see a legitimate argument against this- I only feel the exact same should be applied to social. Landlords having to be registered- what sacres you about this? If it's the fact you might now have to pay tax on an income you previously didn't disclose- well this is good for all other taxpayers and, in theory, for the UK as a whole. If we want our sector to evolve, the better itself, to become respected then we are going to have to accept that changes like many of those proposed are essential to this.

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    l joined the NRLA and then wouldn't renew my first years membershipThey represent a tiny percentage of the PRS landlords. I do not know why any landlords are in it. They are just government stooges. I rang them up and complained recently, it was difficult. Some of my property is managed by a letting agency, they have never mentioned consultations, and have seen no publicity concerning them.

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    Kristjan byfield, as usual you talk utter nonsense. I just see you as a left wing stooge.


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