Nearly 60 percent of housing stock created since 1986 has been in the private rented sector.
Analysis by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) of figures produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government has revealed that of the over five million new dwellings created between 1986 and 2012, 57% of these have been private homes to rent.
Despite calls by the Labour Party at their conference for a boost to the supply of homes, their policies announced this week will critically undermine the housing tenure that has made up the majority of new dwellings created over recent years, warns the RLA.
The RLA is warning that the extra regulations for the sector announced by Labour at this week’s conference will significantly damage the only sector that is boosting the supply of places to live.
This week, Shadow Ministers announced plans for:
A national register of landlords. This is despite the fact that the last Labour Government described a full register of this kind as “onerous, difficult to enforce and costly”.
Rent controls. This is despite the last Labour government having launched a consultation which made clear that the last time rent controls were introduced they seriously undermined investment in the sector.
Banning so called revenge evictions with costly new legislation. This is despite the fact that the Competition and Markets Authority has made clear that this is already illegal.
Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association has today said:
“The figures show that private landlords are the largest single investor group in the UK housing market. Without the increase in rented dwellings we have seen, the current housing crisis would be more like an Armageddon.
“Sadly Labour just does not get it on rented housing. Rather than supporting the sector to meet the ever growing demands being placed on it, Shadow Ministers are looking to make cheap political points by reaching for populist regulations without thinking through their consequences.”
The RLA represents almost 20,000 private sector residential landlords in England and Wales.
DCLG Live Table 101 shows that in 1986, the total number of dwellings in the UK stood at 22,537,000 whilst in 2012 this figure was 27,767,000. Of this, private rented dwellings increased by 3,009,000 from 1,911,000 to 4,920,000. This means that private rented housing makes up 57% of all new dwellings created within this period. The table can be accessed at:
In 2009, the Department for Communities and Local Government published an impact assessment for a full national register of landlords described full licencing as “onerous, difficult to enforce and costly”, costing £300 million. Details can be found on page 4: here
In February 2010, the Treasury, then under the Labour Government, published a consultation document entitled “Investment in the UK private rented sector.” Page 11 reads:
“The post 1918 period was characterised by a long-run decline in the private rented sector
(PRS), although even as late as 1939 over half of households in the UK were housed in the sector, but by 1991 this figure stood at less than 9 per cent. There were a number of reasons for this.
“A key factor behind the decline in the PRS was the introduction of rent controls during the First World War, and these became more extensive over time. Artificially low rents reduced investment in the sector, contributing to a tenure shift to owner-occupation and lower maintenance standards in the stock that remained.”
The document can be found: here
In June 2014, the Competition and Market’s Authority issued guidance on the relationship between landlords and tenants. This guidance makes clear that under the terms of the 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations it is a breach of these where “any commercial practice that, in the context of the particular circumstances, intimidates or exploits consumers such as to restrict (or be likely to restrict) their ability to make free or informed choices in relation to a product, and which cause or are likely to cause the average consumer to take a different transactional decision. These are known as aggressive practices.”
In the examples of what could constitute aggressive practices, it includes, “Threatening the tenant with eviction to dissuade them from exercising rights they have under the tenancy agreement or in law, for example where they wish to make a complaint to a local authority about the condition of the property, or seek damages for disrepair.”
This document can be found: here