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Landlords urge govt to ‘get housing reform right’

Landlords urge govt to ‘get housing reform right’

Landlords have called on the government to ensure any housing reform is “done right” as the Conservative party takes the country's helm for the next five years.

Yesterday (December 12) the UK voted overwhelmingly for the Conservative party, boosting the party's position in the House of Commons by nearly 50 seats and providing its leader Boris Johnson with a majority of at least 78 MPs.

In April the party had proposed a consultation on abolishing the so-called ‘no fault’ Section 21 notices which give landlords the power to evict tenants at the end of their tenancy without a reason.

The then-government hoped the change would protect renters from ‘unethical’ landlords and provide them with long-term security as under the current laws, those renting can be kicked out with only eight weeks' notice without a reason.

The Conservative party later renewed its pledge to end the Section 21 notices in its election manifesto and has now been voted into power on such a pledge.

But landlords have warned there are dangers if the reforms are not carried out correctly and urged the new government to ensure it strengthens the rights of good landlords to repossess properties where they have good cause to do so.

The Residential Landlords Association has called for a framework which provides clear grounds upon which landlords can repossess properties in cases of anti-social behaviour and rent arrears, with guarantees about the timeframes involved for each.

A dedicated, properly funded housing court was needed to ensure this could happen, the trade body urged.

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said it was “vital” the Conservatives’ plans for the private rented sector had the “full confidence of landlords”.

He also thought the election should be seen as an “outright rejection” of Labour’s plans for rent controls which would have “undermined investment in the sector” and “choked off supply”.

Nick Morrey, product technical manager at John Charcol, said he “completely agreed” that landlords needed certain levels of protection to be profitable in order to support the rental sector.

He said: “Without landlords there would be a shortage for tenants and higher prices so a sensible framework to protect tenants and landlords is required.”

Bea Montoya, chief operating officer at business insurer Simply Business, said buy-to-let landlords contributed a combined £16.1bn to the economy through pre-tax spending and urged Mr Johnson and the Conservatives to recognise their “importance to Britain”.

imogen.tew@ft.com

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