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PRS should be cut dramatically, campaigners tell Martin Lewis

Julie Ford

Property expert Julie Ford has called out tenant union Acorn for suggesting the private rented sector should be greatly reduced.

Acorn policy officer Ben Leonard told listeners on the Not the Martin Lewis podcast that most private renters would probably rather be in another type of tenure because there were massive advantages in social housing where you paid less rent and got more support, or in home ownership.

“Not many people want to be paying someone else’s mortgage and be in very insecure housing,” said Leonard. “What we want to see ultimately is the private renting sector diminished and home ownership and social housing increased so we would support any measures which would make it easier for people to get out of the PRS and into home ownership.”

Social housing

Joining him on the podcast, Ford argued the PRS had a place in society. “There’s 4.6 million people who rent – that must be for a reason,” she said. “We know there’s not enough social housing but [the PRS] helps people who need to be nomadic, move for jobs, and helps with people’s lifestyles. There will always be a place for the PRS – we shouldn’t eradicate it.”

Mould problems

The podcast featured the pair answering listeners’ questions, mainly about how to challenge rent rises and damp and mould problems.

Ford tells LandlordZONE that although landlords didn’t get a battering and Acorn’s idea was nonsense, the questions sent in by listeners illustrated the lack of knowledge and understanding both by landlords and tenants. “It wasn’t about who was right or wrong, but there is a general ignorance in the industry,” she adds. “The problem is that some landlords use agents who might not know as much as they should do, which filters down to tenants who then get information and advice from the internet.”


Acorn tenants union
Julie ford
Social housing