The Residential Landlords’ Association Chairman Alan Ward has written to ITVs Director of News and Current Affairs, Michael Jeremy about his concerns over a recent documentary entitled: “Britain’s Housing Crisis” which was broadcast on 5th March – see link below.
The move follows a spate of anti-landlord sentiment in the media reflecting on the growth of the private rented sector (PRS) and the inability of “generation rent” to get onto the housing ownership ladder.
Mr Ward believes the show was “a biased representation of conditions within the Private Rented Sector” and he is concerned that no landlord body was invited to contribute to the discussion.
“Had they done so,” he commented “ITV would have been able to note to viewers that there are over 100 Acts of Parliament containing around 400 regulations affecting the private rented market.”
Ward thinks that the programme “perpetuates a negative stereotype of landlords that the RLA feels is unjustified. It’s, the actions of a criminal few that negatively impact on the reputation of the vast majority of landlords who are legally compliant, and eager to provide quality service to their tenants.”
In the letter* Mr Ward reiterates the RLA stance that enforcement is lacking within the PRS, allowing criminals to operate under the radar while compliant landlords and their tenants pay the cost.
The RLA is calling on the next Government to undertake a full review of the enforcement of regulations in the PRS.
Ward claims that tenants are being let down by a failure on the part of local governments to properly enforce the powers they already have to tackle poor housing conditions.
His appeal comes after research conducted by the Local Government Information Unit and Management Journal which has found that 54 per cent of local authorities believe that they are in danger of being unable to fund their statutory services.
In 2013, the cross-party Communities and Local Government Select Committee report on the private rented sector warned that it was “concerned about reports of reductions in staff who have responsibility for enforcement and tenancy relations and who have an important role in making approaches to raising standards successful.”
The same report also raised concerns that “the police are sometimes unaware of their responsibilities in dealing with reports of illegal eviction.”
Alan Ward, Chairman of the RLA said:
“The RLA is fully supportive of regulations that protect both tenants and good landlords.
“But it cannot be right that regulations are not being enforced properly. This lets tenants and good landlords down.
“The reality is that we can regulate all we like but without proper enforcement then it becomes meaningless.
“Whilst debate on the private rented sector will intensify as we approach polling day we need to think carefully about what can and cannot be enforced.
“It’s time to end the false belief that regulations in themselves will help solve the problems in the sector. Instead we need a smarter approach to root out the minority of crooks who cause misery for tenants and bring the sector into disrepute.”
Liverpool City Council recently launched its landlord licensing scheme. Details can be found at here
In 2014, Liverpool City Council announced plans to cut Environmental Health Services by up to 25 per cent – see here
Details of the joint Local Government Information Unit/Management Journal survey of local authorities can be found here
The Communities and Local Government Select Committee report on the private rented sector can be found here
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) March 13, 2015