Housing Secretary Michael Gove is being lobbied to take urgent action over the growing problem of abandoned tenancies.
Propertymark chief executive Nathan Emerson has written to Gove on behalf of a housing sector coalition including agents and landlords.
The first reading of the Renters Reform Bill in May left many property professionals concerned about the issue of abandonment of tenancies.
An abandoned property can increase landlord overheads such as insurance costs and problems like ensuring tenant possessions are safeguarded.
In addition, any abandoned property can become a target for anti-social behaviour and vandalism.
Propertymark says that because a legal tenancy is still in place, and tenants can return to the property at any point, it cannot be relet or occupied by anyone else.
Under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, if a landlord believes their property has been abandoned, they must make efforts to contact the tenant for one month, after which they can end the tenancy.
Propertymark says this kind approach should be enacted across the UK because it recognises that a landlord is very unlikely to take back possession of a property unless they are certain it has been abandoned.
The Housing Coalition’s letter recommends the that Gove should consider including similar Wales-type provisions in the Renters Reform Bill.
A statement from the trade body says: “Unlocking these properties currently stuck in limbo would help maximise the number of homes available for rent, reduce the risks associated with unoccupied properties and give greater security to landlords.”
An alternative proposal, it says, would be to bring into force the provisions on abandonment Under Part 3 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016. These would allow private landlords to recover possession of abandoned residential properties more easily, but they have not yet been enacted.
The Housing Coalition is made up of membership organisations for property agents and landlords, trade press, plus other housing and legal professionals and campaigns for improvements in the private rented sector.