The Leaders Romans Group (LRG) is actively advocating for a Landlords Reform Bill, emphasizing landlords’ crucial role in preventing homelessness. The group stresses the importance of supporting landlords, warning that pushing them too far could have dire consequences for both the housing sector and the individuals relying on it.
Allison Thompson, National Lettings Managing Director at LRG, reflects on the evolution of the landlord’s role since the 1990s. This shift occurred in response to a diminishing rental market, a consequence of council house shortages. The Right to Buy policy incentivized individuals to invest in properties, thereby addressing this shortage and bolstering the private rented sector. Thompson notes, “Over the years, numerous changes, including regulatory measures and alterations to mortgage relief, have significantly impacted the position of landlords, leading to some considering selling their properties.”
As homelessness rates rise, the prospect of more landlords exiting the market threatens to exacerbate the situation. This concern is particularly pertinent given Prince William’s recent Homewards initiative highlighting homelessness issues. Homelessness not only devastates individuals and families but also places a heavy burden on local authorities and charities.
LRG’s survey revealed landlords’ desire for a comprehensive Landlords Reform Bill that would address their concerns and prevent them from being disproportionately penalized. Such a bill would recognize the vital role landlords play in preventing homelessness and encourage their continued contribution to the rental market. Key proposals for the bill include establishing dedicated housing courts, repealing Section 24, and increasing social housing stock.
Thompson specifically calls for the repeal of Section 24, explaining its impact: “Section 24 removes a landlord’s right to deduct the majority of their finance costs… It is putting up costs, which puts up rents, which contributes to hardship and homelessness.” Despite over 29,000 landlords petitioning the government to reverse this section, the government has decided to continue setting mortgage interest relief only at the basic tax rate.
Landlords participating in LRG’s survey voiced their concerns. Graham Clarke of Gosport remarked, “The Government do not seem to understand that the changes they’ve made mean that there will be much less choice for renters.” Other landlords echoed this sentiment, predicting a decrease in rental properties and a rise in rents, ultimately harming tenants.
In conclusion, LRG underscores the necessity of a Landlords Reform Bill to protect landlords and ensure the stability of the housing ecosystem. By recognizing landlords’ vital role in preventing homelessness, the bill aims to create sustainable solutions benefiting both tenants and property owners.