19 Dec 23

Guest Post by Jonathan Rolande of The National Association of Property Buyers

Solving the country’s rental crisis needs to be the number one priority for the government when it comes to tackling housing next year, a leading property association has said. 

The National Association of Property Buyers says millions of people are now being priced out of affording to rent a home across the UK. 

And it fearsthe problem is going to get much worse in 2024 unless urgent intervention is taken to address the supply crisis across the sector.

Jonathan Rolande, spokesman for NAPB, says: “We are already experiencing a crisis in the rental sector, but this is only going to get worse in 2024. 

“Prices for properties, often of a very low standard, are soaring in all parts of the UK – driven by a shortage in supply. 

“We urgently need to see measures to address this because millions of people can’t even dream of renting a home – let alone buying one.”

Setting out the five steps the NAPB think are needed in this area, Roland says:

1. Encourage landlords to insulate. Rental property includes some of the UK’s worst insulated, energy-inefficient homes. This is because many are old, over commercial or have not been upgraded in line with more modern standards. Less altruistic landlords see little reason in upgrading boilers, insulation and windows but doing so would of course make the home more comfortable for the tenant and save them £1000+ every year. There are also environmental benefits. Allowing landlords to reclaim enhanced tax relief for these works would encourage more widespread installation and give tenants more disposable income.

2. Build. If it makes business sense for private landlords to buy and rent a property, surely it can be done by councils too. Those who build thousands more council houses and flats will have recouped the investment within a decade or so whilst providing secure homes built to good modern standards.

3. Plan for population growth. In the year 2021 to 2022, the population of England and Wales grew by 578,000. This increased number of people would occupy every one of the 150,000 homes built in the same period meaning we (at best) tread water on housing.

4. Clarity. Landlords make property decisions based on long-term plans. Five to 10 years is typical and yet, when it comes to legislation, there are constant changes either happening or being discussed and quietly dropped. Tenant fee bans, Section 21 ban, EPC changes, a Housing Ombudsman, safety regulations, rent control, tax changes – whatever you think of them, all sow seeds of doubt in the minds of many existing and prospective landlords. If the government want a Private Rental Sector they need to give it clear guidance and direction. Often legislation is adapted to easily, but the fear of it has reduced the number of available homes.

5. Change tax laws to reward landlords who grant longer lets with moderate built-in rent increases. Many tenants complain of a feeling of insecurity. Allowing landlords to keep more of their rent income would encourage longer, more secure lets.

Link to original article

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