The Government needs to take care to ensure that responsible buy to let landlords are not burdened with so much regulatory red tape and costs that they decide to sell up – exacerbating the shortage of decent homes to rent.
Any reduction in the number of homes to rent is bad news for the UK economy as affordable accommodation is essential if employers are going to fill the 1.295 million job vacancies reported at the end of March 2022.
It is critical that the Government ensures that the Renters Reform Bill does not reduce the supply of good, safe rental properties any further.
Average rent in the UK has increased 10.6% in the year to May 2022, while rent in London has increased by 15.7%. London rents are now an average of £1,832 per month – equivalent to a salary of £27,000, and the householder needs to pay for utilities, council tax, food, and travel on top. Those working in retail and the leisure and hospitality industries are really struggling to find affordable homes, and employers in these sectors are unable to recruit staff.
Estate agents have reported that the number of rental homes has almost halved since 2019. Research has shown that this a result of the sale of properties by Buy to Let landlords due to the regulatory and tax changes over the last ten years.
The publication of the Renters Reform Bill was pushed back in June, although it is still promised during this session of Parliament. The provisions talked about – tough actions against rogue landlords, improving the quality and safety of rented homes and clauses to prevent unfair rent increases – are to be supported, but Landlords need to be protected. If “no fault” Section 21 evictions are to be abolished the Act needs to ensure that Buy to Let Landlords have the right to take possession of their properties when their situation changes, with appropriate notice to tenants.
Renters need rights to ensure rogue landlords are required to provide safe, secure homes, but it is critical the responsible landlords are not driven away from the sector as the homes they provide are an essential element of the country’s infrastructure.
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