Landlords can effectively now charge what they like as the government’s draconian policies are stifling competition, says Nottingham benefits landlord Mick Roberts.
He reckons fewer properties and tenants who are afraid to speak out are also the unintended consequences of increasing red tape.
“My long-standing tenants are often only paying 70% of the market rent, but when I get a new tenant, I’m charging what I can get, as I need to factor in all these extra costs like licensing and EPCs,” Roberts tells LandlordZONE.
“I’ll be forced to charge tenants more if I’m having to pay out £10,000 for energy efficient improvements.
“That, and the fact there are so few houses to rent around, means tenants are too scared to ask for things anymore, they’re just grateful to have a house – and I don’t just go around offering to update kitchens.”
The situation in Scotland, where rent controls are pushing up rents faster than anywhere else in the UK, is a salutary lesson, says Roberts.
“This is not down to landlords; it’s the lack of supply and I think the government is just realising that. I used to take anyone as a tenant because I knew I could get rid of them if things went wrong – a landlord needs to know they can get their house back.
“Without Section 21, that won’t happen, and you won’t get as many landlords buying houses.”
New eviction laws could be some way off though, as the Renters Reform Bill is not expected to get a second reading until the next Parliamentary session.
There are also rumours circulating that five senior Tories accused of “blocking” the new law are landlords, including chief whip Simon Hart and two senior government whips, Jo Churchill and Steve Double, according to The Mirror. However, the whips office denied the suggestion as “absurd”.