This year has been a frustrating one for UK landlords.
The long-awaited housing white paper – which promised radical changes for PRS landlords – failed to offer much by way of positive news, and November’s budget, welfare announcements aside, had little for landlords to get excited about.
Without a crystal ball, we already know the next round of MIR changes will come into force in April, along with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) and the new banning orders and rogue landlord database.
The ban on letting agents’ fees is also likely to be introduced with the draft bill announced last month.
On top of this the Government is running 15 consultations on issues affecting the PRS on issues from Right to Rent to Client Money Protection Schemes, Universal Credit and Redress schemes for tenants.
But has it bitten off more than it can chew?
While landlords are frustrated with the lack of action so far, to boost supply and encourage investment, the RLA has warned the Government in a meeting only last week, that looking at individual PRS issues in isolation is a mistake.
What’s more, when coupled with recent tax changes, more regulations could end up forcing landlords out of the market altogether.
RLA chairman Alan Ward has already written to Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, to say he is he is ‘deeply concerned’ about the ‘sporadic and uncoordinated’ way in which policy is being proposed.
The RLA has told the Government the sector does not need more consultations but a co-ordinated and consistent effort to boost the supply of homes.
Mr Ward said: “It is not obvious how any of these consultations and the proposals contained within them achieve what we need which is more homes to rent alongside all other tenures.
“While it is right and proper that the government consults on its plans, these exercises are, quite simply not enough.
“As we have said time and time again, tenants cannot live in consultations.”
The RLA came up with a wish-list of positive changes ahead of last month’s budget, including calls for tax changes to incentivise longer tenancies, capital gains tax reform and a commitment from the government to redevelop small plots of land as rental homes.
Mr Ward said: “Landlords need incentives to invest including pro-growth taxation and most of all need to have confidence in the system if they are going to continue to provide vital homes to rent at this time of housing crisis.
“Let’s make 2018 the year we see some joined-up thinking from the Government and recognition of the contribution made by private landlords.”