Ministers have been making several important announcements in relation to the private rented sector.
Following the return of MPs to Parliament after the Easter recess, Housing Minister, Mark Prisk MP announced the first 45 projects which will benefit from the Government’s £1 billion Build to Rent fund.
Given the start of this fund, together with the Government’s Housing Guarantees specifically designed to support and encourage institutional investment in the sector, the RLA will shortly be meeting with officials at the Department for Communities and Local Government to discuss how these initiatives could best support the army of smaller scale landlords who make up a majority of the sector.
In particular, the RLA will be calling for support within the context of its proposals to enable landlords to develop on small plots of unused, public sector land which recently received interest from Communities and Local Government Minister, Don Foster MP, in the House of Commons.
As the Government’s welfare reforms begin to be enacted , the RLA has been at the forefront of efforts to secure the best outcome possible for the private rented sector. Having already met the Minister, Lord Freud, the RLA’s Director for Wales, Douglas Haig, appeared before the Welsh Affairs Select Committee as part of its inquiry into the impact of housing benefit reforms in Wales.
During the session, Douglas reiterated the RLA’s calls for tenants to be given a choice over who should be paid the housing element of universal credit and argued strongly against any suggestion that rent controls would be the best way to reduce the amount spent on housing benefits.
The RLA is also in the process of organising a meeting with Dame Anne Begg MP, Chair of the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, to discuss the Government’s housing benefit reforms further.
Finally, with the Government in the process of implementing its flagship Green Deal, the RLA continues to be concerned that a number of uncertainties about its application to the private rental market persist. A briefing has been issued to key MPs and Peers and a meeting is due to be held next month with Laura Sandys MP, Chair of the All Party Green Deal Group and Parliamentary Aide to the Minister responsible, Greg Barker MP.
Ed Jacobs is the RLA’s public affairs consultant. Email Ed at email@example.com.