Update from The Lettings Industry Council
The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC) held its September meeting yesterday (13 September), attended by organisations across the sector.
The meeting featured and update from Becky Perks, the Private Rented Sector Policy Lead at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG); a presentation on the just launched report: The Evolving Private Rented Sector: its Contribution and Potential, and updates from several businesses.
In response to a question from Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association (NLA), Ms Perks confirmed there is no reason for landlords to not charge for their time as part of a default fee, provided it was included in the tenancy agreement and the charge was reasonable.
Ms Perks also stressed that no decisions had been made on longer tenancies as the mandatory three-year minimum model was intended more to prompt responses than as a statement of intent. MHCLG are “looking at everything” from the over 8,500 responses to the consultation. They will soon be calling for evidence on landlords’ experiences using the courts to gain possession. The NLA will let members know when this starts, and suggests all landlords think about how their experiences can help inform MHCLG’s decisions.
In welcome news, MHCLG will soon appoint independent researchers to review selective licensing (see the NLA’s blog for details on why it was introduced and how it’s used). The working group on the regulation of letting agents will be announced shortly.
Following Dr Rugg’s presentation of her report, it was suggested that looking at approaches in other countries to see what England can use and to gain some reassurance on minimum standards. Dr Rugg said: “Too many international comparisons are just lists of regulations. We know what the regulation is – but we know from our own country that behaviour is different from regulation.”
Dr Rugg believed the growth of the private rented sector was not as it is often assumed, demonstrating that it’s more complex than generally understood. One example of this is that growth has been strongest in areas where the highest yields are gained, such as the North East or North West. However, London and the South East are where demand and rents are thought to be the highest.
Finally, Gary Trent from VOA reported on a cross-Government housing group, which has been established to make statistics more user-friendly. VOA is also working with MHCLG and Tenancy Deposit Protection to develop a sample to improve data on rent levels and changes.