With just days to go until the UK general election, RLA Wales policy and public affairs officer Calum Davies writes about a general election hustings event the RLA hosted in Cardiff, recently.
Last Thursday, RLA Wales hosted a hustings event to discuss the issues that matter to private landlords, at Cornerstone in Cardiff last week.
RLA Vice-Chair and Director for Wales Douglas Haig chaired the lively session, with our panellists:
- Cllr Baroness Debbie Wilcox for Labour – Leader of the Welsh Local Government Association & former Leader of Newport Council
- David Melding AM for the Conservatives – Welsh Shadow Housing Minister & Assembly Member for South Wales Central
- Cllr Joe Carter for the Liberal Democrats – Welsh Lib Dems Housing Spokesperson & Cardiff councillor
- Ceri John Davies for the Green Party – Chair of Cardiff Greens
- Gareth Pearce for the Brexit Party – Cardiff Central candidate
The evening was dominated by the attitude of political parties towards the PRS and the landlords that operate within it. Also debated was the effects of welfare policy on poorer tenants and the knock-on effects on landlords, the need to improve the old PRS housing stock in Wales, and – although devolved – how possession reform will impact on the property rights of landlords.
Other notable points from the evening include:
- Baroness Wilcox saying she will write to the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford AM, to express the strength of feeling from the audience about how they feel they are being demonised and unfairly treated by political parties.
- David Melding AM stated that while his Conservative Party’s plan to end Section 21 (in England), they will also be strengthening Section 8 and the possession rights of good landlords.
- The Lib Dems’ Cllr Joe Carter restated his agreement with the RLA policy of the introduction of a dedicated housing court to speed up cases so landlords don’t unnecessarily lose out while waiting for cases to be heard.
- Ceri John Davies of the Greens said he wants to see better use of existing enforcement powers against criminal landlords rather than punishing responsible ones.
- Gareth Pearce of the Brexit Party said his experience in the property sector abroad showed just how old the PRS stock is in Wales and the need to upgrade those properties, for the good of both tenants and landlords.
Douglas Haig closed the evening, thanking guests for their contributions and putting themselves forward to answer questions from a very engaging, though concerned, crowd.
Douglas reminded the audience of the need for all landlords to have their say and make it count, not just via the ballot box, but through our Rent Smart Wales survey, which you can find here. These findings will help the RLA represent your views to government. You can see more via our live tweeting blog on the event here.
Main picture captions, (left to right): Ceri Davies of the Green Party,
Baroness Debbie Wilcox of the Labour Party, RLA Vice Chair and Director for Wales Douglas Haig, David Melding AM of the Welsh Conservatives, Joseph Carter of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, and Gareth Pearce of Plaid Brexit
Ahead of the General Election on 12th December, the RLA has published a six point manifesto for the private rented sector. Read our key asks here.