Landlords, do not Panic!

Published: 02/06/2023 By Allan Fuller

The Renters Reform Bill proposed by Michael Gove is the first major change to the PRS ( Private Rented Sector) since 1988, when Assured Shorthold Letting was introduced. 

 The entire PRS that we have today stemmed from that event, prior there was virtually no way to rent property except with a few creative methods  to circumnavigate the strict anti-landlord laws enacted in the 1960’s which killed the PRS. An exception was letting to companies, so people would form a company so that they could rent a property. Tenancies could not be ended by the landlord,  rented properties often changed hands with a premium paid to the tenant leaving by the incoming occupant!

 When I started my company in 1983 only one agent in Putney did any lettings, no other agent wanted to get involved, mainly because there was simply virtually no rental property.

 There are several facets to what is now proposed, and there is much talk of it being negative for landlords and the entire sector, but it is not the time for landlords to panic.  

 There is a whole parliamentary process this has to go through, initially a first and second reading, so plenty of time for interested bodies to make representation and for opinions to be expressed to Members of Parliament, I will certainly be adding my voice.

 Modification to the current law is needed, this is inevitable after 45 years since the new system came into effect, what is necessary, and vital is a system that is equally fair for both landlords and tenants.

 Allowing tenants to have pets seems a good idea, but this needs definition, it is more realistic for houses, most flat leases do not allow pets, we do not yet know if a new law will override that. Removing Section 21 is not necessarily a retrograde step provided the plan to beef up and make Section 8 notice really effective and rapid becomes a reality. The courts have a massive backlog. When gaining possession is perfectly reasonable due to tenants abusing the property, antisocial behaviour or not paying the rent then speedy redress is vital.  

 Our advice for landlords is certainly not to jump ship and panic sell their property, if the government has any sense, it will encourage landlords to invest.

 For any economy, a well-run and thriving PRS and Social Housing system is vital. Both types of landlords must provide good, decent and well-maintained homes. The Decent Homes Standard proposal is way overdue and needs to have the teeth necessary to deal with landlords who supply poor, badly maintained accommodation.

 If the government get this right, and the intention seems to be set in that direction, this  will greatly benefit both landlords and tenants.