Landlords have been advised not to panic or believe all the scaremongering in the wake of the government’s radical Fairer Renting proposals.
The Property Redress Scheme’s helpline was inundated within hours of last week’s announcement, reports head of redress Sean Hooker, but he believes the proposals aren’t “oven ready”.
Speaking on Goodlord’s Newsagent podcast, Hooker says the upcoming consultation with key stakeholders will be key to shaping a Bill which looks set to go through Parliament in the Spring.
“We will be able to feedback to the government,” he adds. “We can’t change the fundamentals, but we can guide the direction of travel.”
Hooker says the proposed new property portal – focusing on homes rather than landlords – in theory means providing a holistic experience by monitoring properties to focus attention on failing landlords
But measuring these standards will be the issue, he adds.
“You could incorporate electricity and gas safety information, deposit information and insurance information,” says Hooker.
“It also makes sense for the government to take ownership and for others like us to have licence and access to this that will help delivery of services.”
Hooker is less positive about the value of a new single ombudsman that all landlords must join.
“In lots of sectors there’s only one ombudsman, but our sector is complex as there’s a host of others involved in the property market, so a single one-stop shop is not the entire answer,” explains Hooker.
“You also can’t wait months to deal with issues – they need dealing with in real time.”
And the challenge of what’s reasonable when it comes to landlords having an excuse for turning down a pet is put succinctly by Hooker: “You could argue that keeping a Great Dane in a one-bedroom studio flat on the 31st floor of a tower block isn’t the wisest thing to do – but you can’t have a complete ban.”