Research carried out by Total Landlord Insurance shows that landlords all across the country are yet to reach a general consensus regarding the government’s most recent plans to improve the rental sector – with almost one in five planning to decrease the size of their buy-to-let portfolio due to these changes.
The White Paper - A Fairer Private Rented Sector was released on June 16. The foremost changes in policy include: the abolition of Section 21 evictions, doubling notice periods for rent increases and removing blanket bans on renting with pets and to those with children, or on benefits.
Despite the announcement being relatively in line with expectations, it was met with reluctance from the industry due to its primary initiative being based around changing the balance of power to be in favour of the tenants, resulting in a mixed response for or against these changes from landlords across the nation.
The latest survey of landlord sentiment by Total Landlord Insurance supports this, as it was revealed that 60% of landlords in the UK don’t support the abolition of Section 21 evictions. Other statistics show that 57% of landlords stated that they were opposed to giving tenants the right to rent with a pet unless they can refuse within reason. Meanwhile, 59% of landlords were against the plan to make a blanket ban on tenants renting with children or on benefits illegal.
Despite this, the large majority of landlords (60%) are in support of giving tenants more power in order to prevent unwarranted rent review clauses such as unjustified rent increases. Some 58% of landlords are also in support of plans to double notice periods when increases in rent are reasonably integrated.
Perhaps most significantly, the large majority (89%) of landlords were in support of the creation of a new ombudsman to settle rental market disputes.
In spite of the largely mixed response, 79% of landlords have no plans to decrease or increase their buy-to-let portfolio within any upcoming period of time, with 17% stating that these changes have prompted them to decrease the size of their investment portfolio. Alternatively, only 4% have any plans to do the opposite and increase it.
Eddie Hooker, the CEO of the Hamilton Fraser Group who operates various industry schemes such as MyDeposits, The Property Redress Scheme, Client Money Protect and Total Landlord Insurance, said: “We’ve waited with bated breath for three years to hear the detail of the government’s proposed rental market reforms and while it’s fair to say that their latest plans are rather tenant focussed, any attempts to improve the sector are extremely welcome and should improve standards for all stakeholders regardless of what side of the tenancy agreement they stand on.”
“Despite this, our latest gauge on landlord sentiment shows that the vast majority are in favour of greater tenant protection and a fairer, more level playing field across the rental sector.”
He added: “This has always been the case and while there are bad apples in every batch, the view that all landlords are money hungry tyrants who forsake tenant welfare to increase their rental yield simply isn’t the case.”
Hooker concluded: “However, while they are happy to see tenant welfare increase, they are also understandably protective of their investment portfolio and don’t want to be powerless when it comes to removing rogue tenants, or preventing potential damages to their properties.”
(This article was written by Raphael Ogunlaru)