Private rental reforms based on ideology not evidence, say landlords

Reforms to the way the private rented sector operates in Wales are based on ideology rather than evidence, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has claimed.

The RLA is warning that the government’s Welsh Agents and Landlords Licencing Scheme (WALLS) will impose “a bureaucratic and ill-defined licencing scheme” on the sector.

The group claims that WALLS has the potential to put many existing landlords off investing in new homes and deter new ones from entering the market.

This, the RLA says, despite there being “little data to substantiate the extent of the problems the “government’s proposals seek to address”.

According to the RLA, the government’s current proposals duplicate information already produced by the Land Registry; fail to recognise the importance of landlord development; and do not address the pressing need for tenants to better understand their rights and responsibilities so that they can hold their landlords to account.

The RLA says it agrees with ministers on the need for a sustainable and safe private rented sector, but that the “reality is that local authorities already have over 100 powers to use to enforce standards”.

It claims that adding further regulations without “fully understanding” what is happening in the private rented sector in Wales and basing assertions on what happens in English cities is “no way to make policy and has the potential to lead to immense damage to an important housing sector”.

Douglas Haig, the RLA’s director for Wales, said: “Based on our discussions with officials, we are now seriously concerned at the extent to which policy is being made up without any detailed understanding about the private rented sector in Wales.

“Without the establishment of a Welsh Housing Survey, similar to that produced in England, ministers have no official information on what rents in the private sector are really doing; how many people actually live in the sector; and the quality of accommodation across all housing tenures to name just a few areas.

“We urge ministers to think again on the plans for a potentially disastrous licencing scheme; establish a new Welsh Housing Survey; and re-engage with all stakeholders to secure the private rented market we all want to see.

“Otherwise the result will be fewer properties coming forward for rent adding to the current shortage to meet existing demand and inevitably higher rents as a consequence.”

Article courtesy of 24dash

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