The Landlord Association opposes government plans for private rented sector
The housing minister, John Healey, has unveiled plans to 'improve' the private rented sector.
Recent proposals from Housing Minister, John Healey, include: a hotline for tenants; a requirement for written tenancy agreements; full regulation for all letting and management agents, a National Register of Landlords and a website that would allow tenants to post and gather information on prospective landlords.
As Membership Director for The Landlord Association, I for one oppose almost every element of the proposal. The government seems to lack a real understanding of the problems within the private rented sector. This latest bid to help improve the industry will just open doors to more problems.
If there is to be a forum for tenants to post feedback on landlords, surely there should be a forum to post their feedback on their tenants too. Not that I agree with a forum for all and sundry to offer critique, but like most things administered by the government we are faced with competing for the wooden spoon - desperately trying to convince the government to implicate a counter scheme for the other party (usually landlords) to help balance things out.
Is it at all possible for a forum for both parties be impartial? How can a forum that offers a platform to post subjective opinion on their landlords help tenants or the sector for that matter? If a landlord takes more than 24 hours to respond to a tenants request or fails to repair something that meets the sometimes unrealistic standards of a tenant, does that landlord deserve to be unjustly shamed on a government website?
Has the government again failed to grasp the main issues or problems within the private rented sector? Or have they cunjured up an unfair or impracticle solution for an already problamatic dilemma?
I, for one, would agree the sector needs better legislation - some form of governing that helps to maintain an equilibrium in order to protect landlords and tenants alike. But, like most public services (to which landlords provide), there are always disgruntled customers.
Should the new proposals go ahead, would it then be fair to suggest the formation of a 'black list' in which landlords are able to report troublesome tenants whom fail to uphold their contractual obligations or worst still fall into rental arrears? If counter-acting be the only form of retaliation available to landlords, then we are left with no options. However, I feel this to be a slippery slope whereby there are no winners. Defamation of character opens a whole new can of worms.
If the government are to pass laws regulating the industry then surely they must be expected to judicate with a more hands on appraoach. Both parties should be equally protected and the laws enforced by a controlling and independent judicial system.
If the government truely has serious plans to help improve the private rented sector, I would encourage them to contact those operating within the industry. We (The landlord Association) for one, have never been approached. Surely any organisation representing the masses should consult with the leading bodies for both tenants and landlords alike in order for an amicable and fair solution to be found.
Just a suggestion....
Dean Woodman-Evans - Membership Director for The Landlord Association (25,000 registered members and still the largest organisation representing landlords in the UK).