Housing issues:

A recent survey carried out by the National Landlords’ Association (NLA), the body that represents 41,000 landlord members, says that the results “give the lie” to the clichéd view that all landlords are “dodgy” and treat their tenants badly.

It seems that along with much of the rest of the population, Brexit, not housing, is the Number One issue of concern for Britain’s tenants in the forthcoming general election. This is followed by climate change and the environment, and education, with housing coming fourth on the list as highlighted by the survey.

The results would appear to support previous evidence that private sector tenants are on the whole satisfied or very satisfied with the way their private landlord treats them. In fact private landlords have consistently scored higher on the satisfaction scale than do social housing landlords (councils and housing association) in numerous studies.

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Jeremy Corbyn launched the Labour Party’s general election campaign with a scathing attack on “dodgy landlords”. But, the NLA’s survey of tenants shows that housing is not the most prominent issue on the average tenant’s mind, ranking only fourth, followed by immigration, the NHS, police and crime, tax, transport and the welfare system.

The findings show that, contrary to the mantra constantly peddled by the popular press and some politicains, most tenants actually enjoy a cordial relationship with their landlords. When they were asked how confident they were in their current landlord or agent’s professionalism, nearly a quarter answered “very confident”, with 69 per cent marking them 7 or above, on a scale of 1-10. Only 3 per cent said they were “not confident” in their landlord or agent’s professionalism, says the NLA.

This data was corroborated by other findings over a number of years where consistently over 85 per cent of tenants say they have a positive view of their current landlord. In this survey some 68 per cent admitted that they had “never had cause to complain”. A further 16 per cent noted that while they had registered a complaint, the landlord or agent subsequently “resolved the situation to my satisfaction”.

This, says the NLA, perhaps reflects the fact that landlords have resisted the temptation to raise rents over the past year: nearly three-quarters of tenants reported that their rents had “stayed the same” while some even revealed that their rent had actually fallen over the past 12 months. Furthermore, 86 per cent of tenants had never been served with either a Section 21 or Section 8 over the past five years.

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of the NLA, commented:

“The private rented sector is not the big political issue that some tenants’ groups claim it to be. The idea that tenants and landlords are constantly engaged in some kind of bitter dispute is just another example of fake news.

“When tenants go to the ballot box to cast their vote next month, housing won’t be top of their agenda. That’s because, as the survey we commissioned reveals, the majority of tenants are perfectly happy with their rental property and perfectly happy with their landlord.”

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