Granting landlords and tenants the ability to give the same notice periods would prevent the private rented sector “becoming Airbnb by the back door”, NRLA’s chief executive Ben Beadle has told MPs.
Quizzed before a Commons committee on the Renters Reform Bill, Beadle argued that a moratorium on landlords giving a no-fault reason for repossession in the first six months of a tenancy should be extended to tenants.
“If a tenant gives two months’ notice on day one, those set-up costs hurt landlords,” he said. “This bill is about striking a balance between protecting tenants and landlords – there’s no justification that we shouldn’t be treated the same with that moratorium.”
Chair of the Lettings Industry Council, Theresa Wallace (main picture), warned that the current proposals around periodic tenancies didn’t give tenants confidence, and suggested putting in a break clause instead.
“Tenants tell us they want to secure a long-term tenancy, particularly with children – and landlords want to do that,” she said.
“There should still be a minimum term of six months for any tenancy. More landlords will exit the sector if they’re only going to have periodic tenancies from day one.”
Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns, Timothy Douglas, said periodic tenancies were important for guarantors’ confidence and particularly as an option in student houses.
He believed the current redress schemes for agents needed more teeth before landlords were brought in.
“There needs to be greater understanding of who manages a property and the primary contact for a tenant to complain,” he added.
“A statutory code of practice is needed. We can bring in landlord redress, but are we expecting the 50% of those who don’t have an agent to have a complaints procedure?”
The NRLA’s Beadle said he couldn’t see how the existing schemes would work with a new scheme and the courts, along with a property portal and licensing. “It’s good to have regulations, but if we don’t have the means to enforce it, that’s problematic.”