The Blog

Our roundup of news items over the past week.

This week we discuss from the new housing minister Michael Gove regarding cladding, Sadiq Khan’s latest plan to deal with rogue landlords, and the growing problems within Wales creating an exodus within the property market.

Demand for private rented housing remained strong at the end of 2021

A survey commissioned by the NRLA has shown that there was a 56% rise in demand for privately rented homes in Q4 2021. This mirrored the third quarter of 2021, which showed a 56% rise in demand.

Regionally, the highest growth in demand was in the South West, with 77% of landlords confirming that demand increased. The London market has also increased with a 74% of landlords reporting a surge in demand.

Despite this strong demand, there is a greater proportion of landlords wishing to sell their properties (24%) than those wishing to purchase a house to let (14%). This research comes just days after the economic consultancy Capital Economics warned that, without urgent action, the supply of homes for private rent could fall by over half a million over the next ten years.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA said:

The rental housing supply crisis is only set to worsen, as renters continue to feel the effects of a market starved of a healthy supply of homes for private rent…Policies that dampen investment in the private rented sector serve only to reduce choice, drive up rents and, as a result, make homeownership more difficult to achieve.

Sadiq Khan Unveils Training Course for local authorities

This week, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has unveiled new plans to start a training programme for Local Authority Enforcement Officers in a bid to crack down on rogue landlords inside the capital.

The qualification programme, which is funded by the mayor’s office, will educate and inform local authorities on issues such as weeding out rogue landlords, supporting tenants and enforcing property condition regulations.

Alongside this announcement, the Mayor’s office also published figures that show a fifth of privately rented homes (18%) fail the Government’s Decent Homes Standard and private renters in London are disproportionately more likely to be defined as ‘vulnerable’ compared to the rest of the country.

Khan said in the announcement:

I want to see boroughs empowered to stand up for tenants. This new qualification will give councils across London the workforce and expertise to mediate disputes, enforce standards and crackdown on the rogues who give the many honest operators in the sector a bad name.

New requirements for information in listings

The National Trading Standards and Estate and Lettings Team, which presides over consumer-related activity by agents has set out a three-phase plan to improve the information available to potential buyers of properties.

A property’s council tax band or rate, the property price and tenure information – for sales – must be included on all property listings by the end of May 2022.  A further two phases are being developed, which will incorporate further information such as restrictive covenants, flood risk and other specific factors that may impact certain properties and their value.

National Trading Standards have planned that all material information will be mandatory on property listings once all three phases of the project are complete. At that stage, agents will need to include all the required information before it is listed on a property portal.

Broadly speaking, there has been a unanimous agreement by members within the industry for mandatory disclosure of information, so that potential buyers are not blind sided with incomplete information.

Twice as many landlords in Wales are selling their Properties compared to the rest of the UK

ARLA Propertymark has revealed that on average five landlords are selling their property per branch in Wales, compared to just two in the rest of the UK.

While there is a high demand for properties in certain areas in Wales (such as Cardiff and Swansea), Propertymarks Chief Executive Nathan Emerson believes that this exodus is caused by regulation changes been brought in by the Renting Home (Wales) Act 2016.

Property investor has identified the increased notice periods as well as the tougher regulations on landlords as significant reasons why sales are increasing within the sector.

Gove to persist with cladding policy for landlords

Michael Gove has doubled-down on his policy for landlords with more than one property to be liable for cladding costs, saying that he doesn’t wish for the Government to subsidise the wealthy.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the housing minister confirmed that landlords with only one property will be the only landlords supported by the Building Safety Bill, whom he described as ‘landlords by default’.

However, Ben Everitt MP argued that this would only slow down the process of removing cladding and that many landlords with multiple properties do not have the wealth of the necessary funds that Mr Gove believes.

In addition to Mr Everitt, NRLA have also come out against this claim, calling it a lazy and false view of landlords. The NRLA also have said:

This is not about who does and does not have the means to pay. It is about fairness. No leaseholder, irrespective of how many properties they own, should be expected to foot the bill for dangerous and illegal cladding installed by someone else.

According to Government data, around 44% of individual landlords use the funds as contribution towards their pension. This seems to be in contrast with Michael Gove’s words.


Newsround will be back next week.

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