Propertymark issues recommendations to strengthen Renters (Reform) Bill

Propertymark has issued its list of recommendations to strengthen the Renters (Reform) Bill as it heads for its Second Reading in the House of Lords.

Many additional proposals have been made as the Bill progresses through Westminster, including retaining fixed term tenancies when it is beneficial for all parties involved, especially in the case of student lettings.  

Propertymark has also stressed it should also be mandatory for there to be written tenancies that include an inventory in England.

This will enable properties to be protected, and for any deposit deductions to be conducted fairly.  

The qualification and regulation of property agents would also ensure that letting agents are appropriately skilled and commit to undertaking mandatory continuing development within their role, bringing the private rental sector more in line with the social rented sector that already has mandatory qualifications.  

Finally, Propertymark highlighted that property taxes on investment in the private rented sector must be reviewed, and that landlords should be able to offset mortgage costs against tax liabilities, which have contributed to rents increasing as landlords must have the ability to break even with increasing costs.  

Statistics from Propertymark’s own research found that 88% of letting agents do not believe that the courts would be able to cope with the removal of ‘no fault’ evictions; 80% state the end of fixed term tenancies will affect tenants badly; 64% of letting agents do not believe that local authorities would have enough resources to impose the new legislation properly, and only 54% of agents believe that the proposed private rented sector database will enhance standards. 

Furthermore, 72% of landlords are worried about the abolition of Section 21, 69% of landlords are anxious about the end of fixed term tenancies, and 62% of landlords are concerned about rent review clauses being removed.  

Timothy Douglas, head policy and campaigns at Propertymark, said: “The legislation once passed will undoubtedly bring about the biggest change to the private rented sector since the 1980s.

“Most agents and their landlords have been reassured by the UK Government’s commitment to court reform and that there will be an effective way to recover possession of their property when things go wrong. 

“However, with the removal of fixed term tenancies still a concern and open ended tenancies reducing the certainty for agents and landlords the big question is how do we encourage landlords to stay in the Private Rented Sector?

“Furthermore, tenants need qualified and licensed housing providers to level the playing field and legislators must not miss this opportunity to regulate property agents and bring in additional protection for both landlords and tenants.”