Following extensive media coverage of the RLA’s concerns over the likely costs and bureaucracy associated with the Welsh Government’s proposals for tenure reform, the RLA’s concerns were recently taken straight to the Housing Minister on the floor of the Assembly itself.
In mentioning RLA Director for Wales, Douglas Haig’s, speech to the Welsh Landlord Open Day, the Conservative Shadow Housing Minister, Mark Isherwood AM, called on the Minister to engage with the RLA on the issues outlined in Douglas’s speech. In response, the Housing Minister, Carl Sargeant AM agreed to do so. The RLA is now seeking a meeting with the Minister to discuss the Government’s proposals for tenure reform and its licencing scheme.
During the same question time, Peter Black AM, the Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson whom Douglas has recently met also raised with the Minister a call being made by the RLA that letting agents should be the focus of attention for any licencing scheme before landlords. The Minister said that it was something he is “working through” and that he took Peter Black’s comments “seriously”.
A briefing has also been sent to members of the Welsh Assembly ahead of their debate on the 25th June on progress made in implementing the Government’s Housing White Paper. The RLA’s main point of argument is that Ministers in Cardiff do not have sufficient data to understand the scope, size and nature of the private rented sector before embarking on radical changes to the way the sector will work. The RLA is therefore calling for the establishment of a new Welsh Housing Survey, similar to that compiled in England.
Members in Wales have an important role to play in making their own local AMs aware of the challenges they face and the difficulties likely to be encountered by the Government’s proposed reforms. For further information about making contact with your AM please get in touch with the RLA’s Political Consultant, Ed Jacobs on 0113 278 0211 or email email@example.com.
In England, reports have emerged that the Government’s proposals, outlined in the Queen’s Speech that would force landlords to vouch for the immigration status of their tenants, could, in the words of one newspaper, be “watered down”. According to the Daily Telegraph, “Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, is understood to be trying to ensure that ordinary people who rent out a property are not saddled with red tape”. To that end, the paper reports that the measures will only affect certain areas of the country such as some boroughs in West London. The RLA has provided a detailed briefing to the Government and Opposition outlining its concerns at the proposals as they stand and the likely impact they will have on tenants and landlords alike.
Following publication by the Labour Party of a further policy review document on the PRS, consulting on, among other things, a national register of landlords, the RLA has provided a detailed response to the Opposition with its proposals for a two path regulatory system.
Such an approach would reward compliant landlords via a nationally-recognised, accreditation system, supported by a national code of conduct, and an easily identifiable ‘Good landlords’ badge. For non-compliant landlords, a system of localised enforcement action would direct those who are willing to improve towards the path to accreditation, whilst working towards removing deliberately, non-compliant, criminal landlords from the sector altogether.
As this news goes out, the RLA will have raised these proposals directly with the Shadow Housing Minister, Jack Dromey MP, during a roundtable discussion being held with landlords in Leeds.