Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey hailed the on-going work of the RLA and reassured many that the private rented sector (PRS) is to be supported by Government.
At the Labour Party Conference 2013, the RLA hosted a fringe event titled ‘Homes fit for families – achieving a quality, safe and competitive private rented sector’. Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey spoke of his support and belief in how the private rented sector (PRS) is playing, and will continue to play an important role in housing the nation. Home ownership is at its lowest in England and Wales since the 1950’s and the PRS is increasingly catering to groups that are part of this new statistic.
RLA Chairman and key campaigner Alan Ward kicked the event off with a thoughtful speech in which he thought out loud: “Why can’t the PRS be first choice, not second best?”
Alan’s calls for improved enforcement of minimal standards and greater incentives to be a better landlord are universally held beliefs within the PRS. However, Alan is strongly opposed to rent controls and sees the 100 laws that currently regulate the PRS as more than sufficient to ensure good conditions for tenants, rewards for landlords delivering quality service, and sanction criminal landlords.
Alan argues that due to rent controls “The PRS shrank from 55 per cent in 1935 to 8 per cent in 1988” when the Housing Act 1988 abolished rent controls. Alan went on to argue that “Controlled, declining rents mean less money for maintenance” which could lead to the formation of slums.
Mr Domey spoke after RLA Chairman Alan Ward delivered his speech to a crowded room. Mr Dromey believes that the majority of landlords are good people, providing a valuable service to many people but that a minority gave landlords everywhere a bad name.
Mr Dromey was also very keen on longer term tenancies, to which he praised the RLA for work in this area. Dromey acknowledged proposals from the RLA and the hard work done by the RLA to consider a framework that would work for BOTH landlord and tenant. Mr Dromey said, in regards to longer tenancies, that landlords will appreciate having their properties filled, and tenants can enjoy security, for family planning for example. Elsewhere, keeping tenancy agreements flexible will cater to tenants who want shorter lets – between 6 and 12 months – which will also provide a ‘probationary’ period for landlords looking to vet their tenants.
Mr. Dromey proposed that the longer term tenancies could be ‘Index linked rents’ which would mean that rents would be certain and not increase year on year. This obviously provides tenants with a good security, Mr. Dromey argues also good for landlords as it reduces the likelihood of empty properties or having to go ‘through the churn’ of bringing in new tenants which can cost landlords up to £2,000 a time.
Watch the video below to hear both sides of the debate, let us know what you make of it all!
The RLA looks forward to continue working closely with Government and will provide members with the inside track regarding any developments in regulation/legislation/proposals.
For now check out the video from the RLA fringe event.[youtube width=”600″ height=”450″ video_id=”lZyEKYmCqwU”]