A prominent PropTech company boss has called for more funding to help the private rented sector in next week’s Spring Budget.
Neil Cobbold, managing director of automated rental payment specialists PayProp UK, said that landlords feel under increasing pressure because of upcoming legislative changes, while tenants want to ensure complaints over ‘rogue’ landlords offering substandard homes are acted on by local authorities.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt should do all he can to encourage good landlords to remain in the sector and continue investing in housing stock so tenants can be confident in the private rented sector. Key to this is proper funding of the courts so that when the Renters’ Reform Bill is introduced to Parliament this year, courts have the required funding to process Section 8 evictions quickly and effectively.
In turn, local authorities need the resources for enforcement to crack down on the small percentage of ‘rogue’ landlords who don’t offer safe homes to tenants, which in turn damages the image of the sector. More funding from central government will allow local authorities to step up enforcement without resorting to local licensing schemes to fund it.
The Renter’s Reform Bill, which is due to be introduced in the current Parliamentary year, includes a number of changes for the PRS including:
- The abolition of Section 21 (‘no fault’) evictions
- Notice periods for rent increases to be doubled
- Minimum housing standards to be introduced
- A new ombudsman for the PRS
- Giving tenants more rights to keep pets in properties
Cobbold said: “As far as next week’s Budget is concerned, the most important thing is to keep the economy stable and to ease the cost of living crisis. But if the Chancellor does find that he has some wiggle room, he should give priority to the private rented sector. The PRS amounts to around 20% of the available housing stock in this country and when it faces a crisis, it affects society as a whole.
“We hope he will recognise that with these changes just around the corner, increasing court capacity can give landlords confidence that they can get their properties back within a reasonable timeframe if a tenant does not abide by their tenancy agreement.
“The vast majority of privately rented homes in the UK are built and maintained to a very high standard, providing excellent accommodation for tenants. However, we’ve all seen stories of tenants struggling with poor housing. Proper funding for local authorities and Trading Standards will allow them to investigate and bring up to standard the small number of rogue agents and landlords that give the industry a bad reputation, improving the industry for all.”