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Posted on January 14th 2015 by admin-movingin

Landlords urge longer tenancies, sales to first time buyers

The Residential Landlords’ Association has launched its own election manifesto – including longer tenancies, encouraging sales of rental properties to first time buyers, and tougher enforcement against rogue landlords.

Key recommendations in the manifesto include:

– New measures to encourage investment in homes to rent, including changes to planning regimes and tax changes that could be used also to encourage the sale of rental properties to first time buyers;  

– More rigorous enforcement of powers to tackle the small minority of criminal operators who bring the sector into disrepute;  

– A new right for tenants to renew their tenancies for up to five years to provide more security;  

– All parties committing to a period of stability in the welfare system for landlords and tenants.

RLA chairman Alan Ward says landlords want “a private rented sector that is first choice and not second best.”

The RLA is calling for improvements to the ability of local authorities to enforce regulations. At the heart of this is a recommendation that council tax forms be amended so that tenants have to identify the tenure of their property and details of their landlord or letting agents.

“Faced with financial and staffing pressures, local authorities need a genuine intelligence based approach to enforcing regulations robustly. A national register of landlords would simply become a register of good landlords. No criminal operator would ever willingly make themselves known. Our proposal would be more effective” claims Ward. 

The RLA believes the general election offers a real chance for a mature debate on the private rented sector without some of the knee-jerk calls for more red tape of the past. 

“Too often, discussion about private renting suggests that it is impossible to support both tenants and landlords. This false choice needs to end. The vast majority of landlords enjoy good relations with tenants living in decent accommodation. Policy needs to reflect this reality and not seek to create divisions that in most cases, simply do not exist” urges Ward.