What’s the biggest challenge facing the PRS? Douglas Haig, RLA Director for Wales shares his view

Douglas Haig
Written by Douglas Haig

Douglas Haig, the Vice Chair of the RLA and Director for Wales is hosting our Future Renting Wales conference tomorrow.

Here, on the eve of conference day, he shares what he thinks is the biggest challenge affecting the Welsh PRS.

“For me, one of the biggest issues facing the sector isn’t the legislation and regulation, or even perhaps the MIR changes, but the perception of PRS landlords and understanding of our role.

I’m sure we’ve all seen the TV programs such as “Nightmare Tenant, Slum Landlord” and “The Week the Landlord Moved In”, and whilst they may be entertaining shows in themselves, it isn’t close to reality. 

Far too many people, public and politicians alike, get their perceptions reinforced by stories in the press or programs such as these.  The consequence of this, is that the rules and regulations made are done so to tackle the landlord seen on TV or in the paper. Because, lets face it, some of the cases shown are just plain scary.  

This perception of landlords makes most of our arguments nearly impossible to win without showcasing the good landlords and working with our members.  

Only a few weeks ago we heard Jeremy Corbyn say “With £10 billion in housing benefit going into the pockets of private landlords every year, housing is a key factor in driving up the welfare bill. There were not too many words from the Chancellor about excessive rents in the private rented sector” 

This is the issue about perceptions and an understanding of the sector. That £10 billion is being spent to house people who, without the PRS, may well be homeless. If it were £10 billion going to social housing, I suspect Mr Corbyn wouldn’t have an issue.  

This is of course despite research that shows that pound for pound the PRS is more efficient, and had a higher satisfaction rating – but that’s a story for another day. 

We’re not saying there aren’t issues in the sector, but we need to work together to try and address these, and that includes members of the RLA.   The only way we are going to get over these misconceptions of the sector, is by showcasing good landlords and engaging with the process.  

That’s what the Future Renting Conference is about. If we want change, we have to set an example and be that change”

About the author

Douglas Haig

Douglas Haig

Douglas is the Vice-Chairman and Director for Wales of the Residential Landlord Association and also runs a group of companies involved in management, maintenance, sales and lettings of residential and commercial properties covering Wales and parts of England as well as being a landlord himself.

As Chair of the Cardiff Landlord Forum for five years he has represented private landlord interests to local authorities and as Director for Wales he is in regular talks with all parties in Welsh Government about the future of the PRS in Wales. He is a member of the Cross Party Housing and Fuel Poverty Groups and has been active in the stakeholder groups of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 and Renting Homes (Wales) Bills and has represented the RLA at the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in Westminster. Douglas is keen to listen and represent good landlords and allow them to operate in an environment that enables them to provide high quality, safe housing which is a good long term investment.

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