The National Landlords’ Association and the Residential Landlords’ Association have both slammed the Labour Party’s plans to introduce rent controls and a national register of landlords. The Associations normally take a more restrained route of persuading and nudging politicians over the correct course of action, but they have not held back in their condemnation of Labour’s plans. The RLA say the plans will signal “the death knell for rented housing” and other leading figures and industry bodies have accused Labour of “pantomime politics”. The RLA further warned that the extra regulations for the sector announced by Labour at their conference will significantly damage the only sector that is boosting the supply of places to live. Plans were announced for a national register of landlords, despite the fact that the last Labour Government described a full register as “onerous, difficult to enforce and costly”. The Party has also called for the reintroduction of rent controls, again despite the fact that the last Labour Government launched a consultation which made clear that the last time rent controls were introduced, they seriously undermined investment in the sector.
Alan Ward, Chairman of the RLA, says “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 the consequences.”
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the NLA, says “Labour’s proposals for a “better” private rented sector amount to little more than pantomime politics. They are designed simply to turn the heads of the UK’s 9 million renters and are fuelled by a mainstream media fascinated with perceived good versus evil. There is a counter narrative lost in the media hype, pointing to the weight of evidence that the private rented sector works for the overwhelming majority which Labour has simply ignored. The collective response of dismay from the industry, warning of the potential negative impact on the sector, continues to fall on deaf ears.”
Neil Woodhead, founder of Ready Rentals, says “Labour policies will put back investment until the outcome of the Election and new full policy details. Organisations like Shelter will demand lower rents, no fees, longer leases and the provision of an ”open door” policy to all. When will they accept that the PRS is predominantly providing accommodation for working people, students, people relocating, corporate and business tenancies? Social tenants are only a part of the sector, so why are they pushing for longer leases when the average tenancy only lasts 12-18 months?
Private landlords within the PRS will be forced, again, to sit on the sidelines of a Labour Government consultation into their industry, allowing well funded, heavyweight bodies such as Local Government, Councils, Charities and Housing Associations to lobby and bully our elected Ministers into submission regarding their opinions as to what is best for the thousands of individual landlords who have no voice.”