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Good private landlords should be encouraged to develop their portfolios


Debate over private rented housing has never been more intense.

Many tenant groups cry foul that landlords are ripping tenants off, forgetting that independent surveys show that the vast majority of tenants are satisfied with their property.

Landlords get falsely accused of defending the status quo, despite the RLA’s comprehensive package of reforms outlined in its manifesto for the sector.

In reality, tenants and landlords have the same interests. Landlords want satisfied and long staying tenants which they won’t get unless their properties are decent and the price is right.

As the largest body representing private landlords, we are as strongly against criminal landlords as anyone.  In fact more than anyone, as they bring the rest of the sector into disrepute.

At the heart of the Homes for Britain movement is a call to end the housing crisis in a generation by massively boosting the supply of new homes. Never has this been truer than for rented housing.

Where the supply of homes to rent is facing chronic problems tenants have few, if any, choices over where they want to live, and rents go up.

Some suggest rent controls as the answer, yet history shows that such policies diminish supply and reduce quality.

The RLA’s manifesto makes a range of proposals to provide greater choice for tenants on the road to making it a first choice, rather than second best housing option.

Planning reforms could encourage the majority of landlords who are individuals to develop, as I have, on small plots of derelict land that no corporate investor would go near.

Tax reforms could encourage the building of properties to rent. At present, VAT cannot be reclaimed where the property is for rent as this is classed as a business activity. This anomaly needs to end.

And finally, we need a more supportive atmosphere where good landlords are encouraged to develop their portfolios whilst the anger is rightly turned on the minority of crooks.

It’s time we got on and delivered the homes to rent the country needs.

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Written by Alan Ward | Posted on 10th February 2015

Alan Ward is Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association and a landlord himself.