All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector
The RLA was instrumental in supporting the establishment of the first All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector, for which it now serves as the secretariat. With a membership of over 60 MPs and Peers from all parties, the Group’s formation has been welcomed by Housing Minister Grant Shapps, who addressed a meeting in November.
Welfare Reform Bill
Following intense campaigning by a large number of housing organisations, led by the RLA, the Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud announced that the Government was prepared to establish a review to assess the impact in 6 pilot areas of paying housing benefits directly to tenants.
Regulation of HMOs
Under rules introduced by the previous Government, all properties converting from being used as a C3 family dwelling to a new C4 HMO would require planning permission. Following a personal phone call from the Housing Minister, the RLA’s Chairman was told that the Government would scrap the requirement for blanket planning and instead give discretion to local authorities as to whether they would use an Article 4 directive.
Landlords Leading Voice in Westminster
The RLA is now the country’s leading voice for landlords, representing their interests and those of the sector as a whole with an extensive and ongoing programme of meetings with key MPs, Peers, civil servants and policy organisations. The RLA was also the only landlords organisation to provide evidence to a recent Parliamentary committee inquiry on housing benefits and will be supporting research and events by a number of think tanks looking at the long term future for the private rented sector.
£100,000 Tenancy Agreement Threshold
The RLA was the only landlords association against this idea. It does not just affect the large landlords in London but many landlords of larger properties such as student properties up and down the country. Although the limit went up in October 2009, we were instrumental in persuading the then Government not to bring it into force earlier to give landlords time to prepare. In particular, affected landlords will have to protect any deposits they hold. The Government had proposed originally to implement this with two weeks notice!
Regulation of Buy to Let Mortgages
The previous Government had been persuaded to think again about this idea. It would increase the cost of borrowing and make it harder to obtain loans. Like many people the RLA is sceptical as to the effectiveness of this kind of regulation anyway.
We successfully persuaded the previous Government and the water industry to drop their idea to make landlords of HMOs responsible for water charges and to model water charging on council tax which would have been a complex nightmare for everyone. We persuaded them that so long as the landlord notifies the water company as to who the tenant is (which is good practice anyway), then the landlord will not become liable for water charges.
Proposed EU Directive on disability
We have helped persuade the EU to water down the requirement that landlords may have to make changes in advance to their properties to accommodate disabled tenants. We continue to campaign against proposals that landlords may have to carry out structural works to their properties.