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Landlords calling for change of attitude to rental sector from Tory hopefuls

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

Landlords are urging the candidates to lead the Conservative Party to adopt a more positive approach to the private rented sector.

In a letter sent to Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson the Residential Landlords Association warns that the interests of tenants are not being well served by policies which are reducing the supply of homes to rent.

According to Government data, 10 per cent of landlords representing 18 per cent of all tenancies in the sector plan to reduce the number of properties they rent out whilst 5 per cent of landlords representing 5 per cent of tenancies plan to leave the sector altogether. Recent RLA research suggests that 46 per cent of landlords are planning to sell some or all of their properties.

This comes following a raft of Conservative policies aimed at dampening investment in the market, including imposing a tax on landlord investment in new homes to rent. This means that landlords investing in new rental housing are hit by a 3 per cent stamp duty levy.

Most recently the Government has proposed limiting the ability of landlords to repossess properties when they need to.

As a result of the fall-off in investment, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned that expectations for increasing rents are now at their highest point for 3 years.

The RLA is calling on the leadership candidates to back its 5 point plan for the sector, namely:

  • Pro-growth taxation to ensure enough homes to rent to meet growing demand.
  • A fair system for repossessing properties that protects tenants from unfair evictions whilst retaining the confidence of landlords to regain possession of their property where there is a legitimate need. This needs to be coupled with a dedicated, housing court to settle disputes swifter and easier.
  • Supporting vulnerable tenants by ending the Local Housing Allowance cap.
  • Rooting out criminal landlords by providing councils with more resources to better use the powers they already have.
  • Rejecting all forms of rent controls which serve only to dry up the supply of homes to rent, reducing choice for tenants and thereby increasing rents overall. 

David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said:

“The new Conservative Prime Minister needs to reconsider the approach to the private rented sector. Otherwise the situation for tenants will just get worse as they face less choice and higher rents because of a growing shortage of properties.

“We need a raft of changes that will encourage more investment in high standard homes rather than efforts to scapegoat landlords for failures by successive governments to build enough homes.”

Learn more

Last week, the RLA together with the JCWI and campaign group the3million called for both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to scrap the Right to Rent scheme, following a High Court ruling that the scheme causes discrimination against British ethnic minorities.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

4 Comments

  • No 3% Stamp Duty levy for Jeremy Hunt, it’s only for the little people. He avoided it by buying 7 properties in one go via his company, Mare Pond properties limited. All mortgaged and interest fully offset in the company structure. Not an affordable option for small fry like me to incorporate now after being a landlord since 1991.

    Mr Hunt has of course done nothing wrong but I would hope he will come under far more scrutiny than this – he took a position in the PRS after George Osborne’s 2015 budget so we know his view and the difference in the way his properties are taxed and that of a good number of RLA members is quite an eye opener.

  • During the past 15 years of myself being a landlord, I have yet to see one piece of legislation that actually benefited myself or other landlords.

    Given the increasing hostile environment and the attitude of local councils towards landlords whereby they are taking whatever rogue tenants tell them as gospel, it has forced me into a position whereby I am now selling off all 10 of my properties. I have accepted offers on 2 of the 3 I have up for sale at the moment and the other 7 will be following in due course once I have gone through the 10 month process of evicting rogue tenants through the poor court system!

  • Obviously you have a problem with it being pointed out that, amazingly, there is the option to purchase 6 or more properties and NOT pay the 3% SDTL surcharge – which Mr Hunt availed himself of as widely reported in the press at the time and supported by Companies House filings regarding Mare Pond properties Ltd which is public information and declared on the MP register of interests and as such is perfectly permissible to be discussed on a forum such as this

    I’m becoming very disillusioned with the RLA, you could have used this disparity between Hunt and many of your members to promote and highlight the SDLT issue but perhaps that would be a little bit close to the edge for you?

    A cynic may say this plays to the significant number of amateurs who don’t have a clue and your role as provider of numerous solutions to this dilemma in the form of paid for courses to help them out – the worse it gets for them the more you can step in to the rescue and the higher the fees.

    It’s pretty certain Hunt will lose so once he returns to relative obscurity the opportunity is lost for any scrutiny regarding his property company.

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