Calls for tax incentives for longer tenancies were made during the Government’s debate on housing and homes.
MPs speaking in the re-arranged debate yesterday raised concerns about security for families with Sir Robert Syms, Conservative MP for Poole and Former Chair of the APPG for the PRS reiterating the RLA’s call for tax incentives for those landlords willing to offer longer tenancies.
He said: “Somehow the Government, perhaps through tax incentives or capital gains incentives, ought to try to ensure that leases of three years or five years are available to families.
“That would take some of the pressure off families with children, who would feel much more content with their lot.”
This is something the RLA called for in its budget submission last year.
In a recent survey by the RLA of almost 3,000 landlords, 63% reported that they would offer a tenancy of 12 months or longer at the request of the tenant – so the will is there.
However there are also barriers.
A longer tenancy also includes a greater risk for landlords, who are potentially being left to shoulder the cost if a tenant stops paying rent, and RLA research found nearly one in four landlords said their mortgage conditions that restricted the maximum tenancy length.
Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire MP confirmed the Government “will shortly consult on options to support landlords to offer longer tenancies to those who want them”.
However, Mhairi Black, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South said action is needed, not more consultations.
She said: “Any action to tackle barriers to landlords offering longer and more secure tenancies has been kicked into the long grass, with the Government instead announcing yet another consultation to add to the 15 already ongoing consultations relating to the private rented sector.”
The Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP, spoke to raise concerns about PRS tenants facing “rents that are soaring way ahead of incomes.”
He went on to outline Labour’s policies for the PRS which are, he said, “legal minimum standards, longer tenancies, a cap on rent rises and local licensing to drive out the rogue landlords.”
The former Housing Minister, Mark Prisk MP (Conservative, Hertford and Stortford) outlined his opposition to rent capping, and asked John Healey if he supported them.
John Healey MP referred to Labour’s election manifesto which pledged “longer tenancies, with a cap on the rent increases during that period.”
Licensing was also addressed. Emma Hardy, Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle said: “We all know that there are many fantastic private landlords out there across the country who offer a high-quality service for the people living in their accommodation, but we also know that there are many who do not.”
She outlined concerns about the standard of a number of properties in the PRS in Hull, and called on the Government “to make it easier for local councils such as Hull City Council to introduce landlord licensing, so that they can check that all these people living in private rented accommodation are not living somewhere that is a hazard to their health.”
Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown spoke of the importance of selective licensing schemes. He went on to express “bemusement and even frustration that the Minister has still not signed off numerous selective licensing applications, including mine in Brighton and Hove.”
To read the debate in full click here.