The Supply of Rented Housing - Select Committee Could Have Gone Further, says ARLA


21st  May 2008

Although welcoming the Select Committee report into the supply of rented housing, published today, ARLA, the Association of Residential Letting Agents, believes that it could have said more to help consolidate and build on the successes of the Private Rented Sector over the past decade.

Commented Ian Potter, Head of Operations for ARLA, "Many of the recommendations to Government are aspects that ARLA has long proposed. The Association looks forward to contributing meaningful suggestions to Government, particularly in support of the Select Committee's suggestion that the Private Rented Sector requires financial incentives for private landlords."

"As the lead professional body for the sector, ARLA has been pressing for the implementation of the Law Commission proposals for long term tenancies since they were published two years ago. For many years before that, the Association called on successive governments to help change the perception that private renting is only for the short term. ARLA proposed a longhold tenancy as early as 1995.

"Well before Buy to Let was launched to boost private sector renting, we believed that the sector could, and should, offer much more long term stability for family tenure. Since then, the rented housing stock to do this has been provided by long term private investors. They, too, would welcome implementation of the Law Commission's Proposals," Ian Potter pointed out.

In calling for the accreditation of letting agents, the Select Committee has gone part way to meeting the ARLA proposals for full licensing of all letting agents. ARLA believes that this is the quickest and most effective method to eliminate unprofessional, unqualified and unethical agents from the rental market.

To accomplish a practical licensing regime, the Association has long established the blueprint for the regulation and compliance that would be required for a proper and practical system of licensing.

ARLA, who first initiated the concept of Buy to Let, are pleased that the Select Committee noted the contribution Buy to Let investors have made in providing stability in rents and an improvement in the housing stock.

The Committee noted that Buy to Let investors have been steadily replacing institutional investors in the rental market. "It is they who have been largely responsible for growth in the Private Rented Sector, for the stable rent levels and for renting becoming socially acceptable once again,"

Ian Potter noted. "We have to hope that the credit crunch will not damage this process. The Private Rented Sector needs more investment."

Both the Select Committee and ARLA recognise that there are a relatively small number of bad landlords operating in the sector. ARLA believes that tighter regulation is also needed to cover landlords, although 80% of all tenants in the private sector report satisfaction with their landlords.

The Association was disappointed that the Select Committee report failed to tackle the problems with licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation.

"The inconsistencies in the requirements and the variation in licensing costs between local authorities have left an unsatisfactory situation for landlords operating in this section of the rental market. However, all are agreed that effective licensing of HMOs is very necessary," said Ian Potter.

Visit the House of Commons web site:
Communities and Local Government Committee Reports section

Download the The Supply of Rented Housing Report  directly from the House of Commons web site.

Source ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) Press Release

See Also:

Resolution Hardens Among Buy to Let Investors - The Prime Investors in Today's Property Market - June 2008

No Soaring Rents as Supply and Demand Levels come into Balance, Quarterly ARLA Survey shows - June 2008

jml Property Services launches new insurance web site  - Arla Agreement Magazine August 2007

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