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Categories: government and politics | evictions | prs

1,100 landlords have been surveyed for their opinions on the government White Paper “A Fairer Private Rented Sector” (PRS), with some expected but some surprising results.

The survey has been conducted by Total Landlord Insurance, part of the Hamilton Fraser Group.

Key points covered by the White Paper and landlord reaction

The white paper outlined the following government intentions for the PRS:

  1. Halve the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030 and require privately rented homes to meet a legally binding Decent Homes Standard (DHS)
  2. Accelerate adoption of the DHS in areas that need it most
  3. Abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions

60% of landlords surveyed are against the removal of Section 21 evictions. The intention of the government to make this change has been known for several years now, so whilst its inclusion in the White Paper was expected, landlord opposition to it remains strong.

  1. Reform grounds for possession so landlords have effective ways of regaining possession of their property where necessary
  2. Restrict rent increases to once per year. End rent review clauses. Improve tenant’s ability to challenge excessive rent increases.

Two thirds of landlords supported giving tenants the ability to end rent review clauses and challenge excessive rent increases.

  1. Strengthen tenant’s ability to hold landlords to account. Require landlords to join a new Ombudsman

A surprise of the survey came in the 89% of landlords who supported plans for a new Ombudsman to handle disputes.

  1. Work with the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service to target unacceptable delays in court proceedings
  2. Introduce a new Property Portal so that tenants, landlords and local councils have the information they need.
  3. Strengthen local councils’ enforcement powers and ability to crack down on criminal landlords.
  4. Make blanket bans on renting to families with children, or renting to those receiving benefits illegal

58% of landlords objected to being forced to accept tenants in these groups.

  1. Increase the rights of tenants to have pets in their property

57% of landlords are opposed to being forced to allow pets in their rental properties.

Given a recent survey, conducted by The Lettings Hub, found that over three in four landlords had to repair property damage caused by pets, but over half had been unable to recoup the cost, resistance to this change is understandable.

Whilst the White Paper claims it “will make it easier for landlords to accept pets by amending the Tenant Fees Act 2019 to include pet insurance as a permitted payment” the survey demonstrated that landlords are sceptical of how this can be successfully imposed.

  1. Monitor the development of market-led solutions to passport deposits to reduce barriers to tenants moving.

Commenting on the results of the survey, chief executive officer of Hamilton Fraser Group, Eddie Hooker 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.

“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.”