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Housing minister's 'constructive' meeting with landlord groups

Saturday 23 September 2017

Landlord groups met with housing minister Alok Sharma this week to discuss issues affecting the PRS and to call for greater support.

Residential Landlords Association (RLA) chair Alan Ward brought up issues of affordability and supply and the personal consequences of changes in tenancies. 

And he called on the minister to act as an advocate for the PRS and support the individual investors who provide diversity and choice. 

Mr Ward said: “It was a very constructive meeting and a great opportunity to put our members’ views and experiences to the minister.

“Mr Sharma has now invited us to meet regularly to further discuss housing issues.”

Meanwhile, the National Landlords Association (NLA) CEO Richard Lambert urged the MP to scrap plans that will form part of the draft Tenants’ Fees Bill.

Data from the NLA’s website shows that the average deposit is currently 4.92 weeks’ rent and there is no evidence to suggest that landlords are charging unnecessarily high  deposits.

The NLA says that imposing an arbitrary cap on deposits of one month’s rent could prove damaging to some prospective tenants and have the counter-productive effect of reducing their ability to secure suitable accommodation.

Mr Lambert explained that almost a third (32 per cent) of landlords had experienced property damage due to the actions of a tenant in the last 12 months, and the figure was  higher for landlords who let to LHA claimants (53 per cent) and recipients of other benefits (56 per cent). 

AN NLA spokesperson said if landlords were not confident in their ability to mitigate the financial impact then they may avoid offering properties to 'riskier' tenant groups.

Instead of this cap, the NLA are calling for the upcoming draft Tenants’ Fees Bill to provide 'more innovative solutions' that appreciate why landlords require deposits, while also improving tenants’ ability to move around in the sector. 

For example the Government should be looking to allow passporting of undisputed deposits between tenancies and providing funding for Government-backed deposit schemes to help vulnerable households.

Representatives of other industry bodies, including Propertymark, ARLA, NAEA and NALS, also attended the meeting.

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