Private Rented Sector Blog and Commentary

LettingFocus has been pretty active on external blog and forums this week.  Here are some snippets of what we have been saying….

At the Guardian Housing Live Debate on Homelessness Prevention….

” …… there is no good reason why London boroughs should move people out of their home cities because of changes to housing benefits and there is also no good reason why they are paying out millions to house people in bed and breakfast accommodation either.

The private rented sector (PRS), if used properly by the town halls could go a long way to solving both these problems. …..It is a scandal that real pain for the poorest in society is often caused indirectly and in part by a lack of understanding of how to engage with the PRS at many town halls, but especially at government level and in particular in the Communities and Local Government department … (and) this means that many possible solutions are being overlooked”.

Review of latest report on the PRS from a think tank ….

“……I have had a quick read of the new IPPR think tank report “Together at Home” and it looks to be quite a thorough report with some good ideas. As long term practioners on issues related to the private rented sector, at LettingFocus, we rather joke about how years ago, reports which mentioned the PRS either in whole or in part, came around about once a year if you were lucky.

Now they seem to be dropping out of the ether at the rate of one a week – indeed, I have still not had time to properly look at nor yet digest the latest Joseph Rowntree report which came out just seven days earlier. But on a quick scan it’s pleasing to see JRF have listened to our comments on the longer term tenancies and lender restrictions issues – a very valid reason why private landlords cannot issue longer term tenancies”.

In response to London Councils’ call for more landlord accreditation and making accreditation a condition of being able to let to certain groups or to receive various advantages….

“…..I’m afraid one can do all the landlord accreditation schemes one likes, but for us it is a sideshow to the real issues. One real issue, in London at least, is that the Housing Benefit/ LHA system does not work for private landlords. It is too risky, too clunky, too slow, and too cumbersome and it imposes higher costs on landlords.

Private lease schemes have some merit, if marketed right and administered effectively. But we have seen lots of examples of them being marketed and administered ineffectively by housing associations and local authorities”.

Commentary to Newham landlords on news that Newham will now definitely bring in borough wide licensing, the first local authority to do so….

“I wonder what the reaction of the rogue “sheds with beds” landlords in Newham will be to this. Could they will be quaking in their boots at the fear of instant criminalisation or could they be rejoicing that Newham will be busy processing applications from all the law abiding landlords and too busy to go after them for some time. Hope my doubts are proved wrong and that Newham are proactive at finding and dealing with the rogue operators”.

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