With independent private landlords vilified in the press and largely ignored in the government’s White Paper the RLA’s fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference asked what is the role of PRS landlords in meeting the country’s housing needs – and what the government should do to support them.
Questions centred on regulation, mortgage interest relief, short term lets and their threat to the sector, build to rent, landlord training and homelessness.
More than 30 people attended the breakfast discussion at Manchester’s Midland Hotel on day three of the conference.
Speakers Kevin Hollinrake MP, Vice Chairman of the APPG for the PRS and chair of estate and lettings agency Hunter’s and Douglas Haig, Vice Chairman of the RLA were on the panel.
Hollinrake opened the event and give his views on the role for small landlords in meeting the increasing demand for new homes, based on his many years’ experience in the industry.
He stressed the government does not ‘have it in’ for smaller landlords and outlined the important changes announced at the conference by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.
However, he did suggest a property rental standard may be required for all PRS homes in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, and that moves to make the PRS more professional should be good news for landlords.
Douglas Haig told the audience that we only hear about PRS when things go wrong – and media coverage does not provide a true reflection of the sector – with more private sector tenants satisfied with their homes than social sector tenants
Then said he believes the PRS has been unfairly targeted by recent policies and there is need for reform of the court system, particularly regarding section 8.
He welcomed Sajid Javid’s plan for a housing court and reiterated the RLA’s call in its budget submission for small plots of disused public land to be freed up and brought back into use to be redeveloped as PRS homes.
Speaking after the event he said: “It was very well attended and a number of concerns were highlighted by councillors, landlords and property professionals about the direction of the industry and some positive ideas were developed to take to the secretary of state.”
To read our live blog of the event click here.