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Lack of rental choice will undermine manifesto plans for reform

Lack of rental choice will undermine manifesto plans for reform
Shekina Tuahene
Written By:
Shekina Tuahene

Plans laid out by political parties to reform the private rental sector ahead of the election will be undermined by a lack of tenant choice, a trade body has said.

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) warned that proposals from the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Green Party to scrap Section 21 evictions did not address the problems faced by renters. 

The association said the “most pressing and basic” issue was the “chronic shortage of homes for private rent”. 

NRLA said neither of the parties considered the fact that research suggested each available rental property had 15 prospective tenants, which had led to rising rents. 

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has highlighted this in several of its housing market reports, pointing to a mismatch between supply and demand impacting rental affordability. 

NRLA said bold measures were needed by the next Government to avoid making the situation worse for tenants. 

This also follows a warning from Savills that said up to one million new private rental homes would be needed across England and Wales by 2031 to meet demand. 

Certainty over rental market rules 

The NRLA also said there needed to be more certainty over the regulation of the rental market and suggested a replacement for Section 21 if it is scrapped. 

The association is also calling for the 3% stamp duty levy on additional homes to be scrapped where landlords bring long-term empty homes back into use. Recent research from Capital Economics suggested this would see nearly 900,000 new homes enter the rental market over the next decade and generate £10bn of Treasury revenue due to increased income and corporation tax receipts. 

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: “Renters are being let down by a repeated failure to address the rental housing supply crisis. 

“The lack of choice serves only to drive up rents and, given the shortage of alternative accommodation for them to move to, makes it harder for renters to hold rogue and criminal landlords to account. 

“We will work with the next Government to ensure the replacement for Section 21 works for the sector as a whole. However, greater security for renters will mean nothing if they cannot find homes to rent in the first place.”