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  • Property-a-holics

    Report says private renting unfair to tenants



    As families and children in privately rented homes soar, report urges rethink to make their housing more stable and affordable

    Most people believe the current system of private renting is unfair to tenants, allowing them neither a stable nor an affordable home, according to new polling released today (Tuesday).

    A majority think landlords have too much power, and that tenants should have greater protection from those owners who behave badly.

    Yet many also consider the law should better protect landlords from badly behaved tenants - suggesting both sides would benefit from changes to the system.

    The polling, commissioned by IPPR from Sky Data, comes against a backdrop of soaring numbers living in privately rented homes.

    According to an investigation of the private rented sector by the think tank, published today, an estimated 4.7 million households now live in privately rented property, up from two million since the turn of the century.

    The IPPR reports says:

    • The proportion of households living in the private rented sector has grown most rapidly since the financial crisis of 2008 (see chart 2.1)

    PRS Table 2-1.png

    • More than a third (1.8 million) are families with children, many of whom will remain in the sector until well into adulthood
    • Millennials (born between 1981 and 2000) are four times more likely to be renting privately than baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) at the same age

    The research, which included focus groups involving both tenants and landlords, is an effort by IPPR to understand the private rented sector better, given its growing importance, and to develop policy options for reform.

    It found that more than seven in 10 of all privately rented houses are owned by individuals and couples, and most landlords are “amateurs”, with 78 per cent of them renting out just out a single home.

    There are wide regional variations, with London having the highest proportion of households in private rented accommodation (30 per cent) and the North West showing the fastest growth over the past 14 years (187 per cent, almost triple). See Note 4 for a full regional breakdown.

    It identifies a series of challenges faced by private sector tenants, which contribute to the wider sense that the system is not working well:

    • Insecurity: Landlords may end a rental contract without explanation once the usual initial term of six or 12 months has passed, and although only one in 10 are ended by a landlord, the impacts are significant: ending private rented tenancies accounts for 28 per cent of those accepted as homeless by local authorities in England.
      A private tenant in London told IPPR: “I’d like somewhere that I can call my home because at the moment, you never know when you’ve got to move on. There’s always a phone call to say, ‘That’s it, move.’”
    • Unaffordability: Private rents are unaffordable for those on lower incomes in 62 per cent of local authorities in England and in more than half (52 per cent) for those in median incomes. The average deposit is equivalent to 60 per cent of average monthly take-home pay.
      - Some landlords recognise the issue. A landlord told IPPR, “Renting is really dead money”; another said, “It’s expensive to rent somewhere decent”; and a third said, “You’re paying more in rent, probably, than what a mortgage would be.”
    • Poor conditions: 27 per cent of properties fail to meet the Decent Home Standard, more than among owner-occupied or social housing, and many renters experience problems including damp, mould, leaks and animal infestations.
      - A private tenant in Oxford told IPPR“We’ve got storage heaters. They’re awful in winter. The kitchen is dated. I’ve mentioned it many times but it’s like, not a priority for the landlord. It is for me, because it affects my day-to-day living…”
    • Lack of agency and representation: Landlords hold much of the control over who they let to and what they allow tenants to do with a property. This includes refusing to rent to tenants on housing benefit or with pets, and restrictions on decorating. Tenants’ unions in the UK are also under-developed, lack significant membership and are poorly recognised in the housing system and in policy.
      A landlord in Bristol told IPPR: “I think my friend blatantly chooses not to rent to people on benefits, and I feel like that should be her choice. It’s her property.”

    The report also identifies crucial issues faced by landlords. These included the impact of welfare reforms, reductions and reforms to taxation of private landlords, and the legal system. Landlords also suggested that the key risks to their investments were long gaps between tenants and rising interest rates.

    The research found that tenants and landlords shared some key issues: a lack of knowledge of their rights and responsibilities; dependence on the kind of relationship that is built between tenant and landlord; an imbalance of power, with tenants feeling that they lack power in the system as a whole and landlords expressing frustration at a lack of it at key parts of the process; and limited trust in the system on both sides.

    The Sky Data poll found widespread scepticism and unhappiness about the private renting system:

    • 54 per cent say that landlords have “far too” or “slightly too” much power over tenants, while just 10 per cent think tenants have “far too” or “slightly too” much power over landlords.
    • 53 per cent say the way it works is “very” or “fairly” unfair for tenants, while just 19 per cent regard it as fair.
    • Pensioners, single parents and couples with children are seen as groups for whom it works very or fairly badly by most people – 61 per cent, 58 per cent and 49 per cent respectively.
    • 61 per cent said it does not provide tenants with a long-term, stable home. 
    • 59 per cent say it does not provide affordable homes, and only 29 per cent say it provides good quality accommodation – outnumbered by the 45 per cent who say it does not.

    Darren Baxter, IPPR Research Fellow, said:

    The private rental market is broken, leaving too many households in insecure, unaffordable and poor-quality accommodation. Much more needs to be done to give tenants greater protection, rights and control over their homes. 

    “Our report shows that there is significant public support for much greater reform of the sector. Government should act now to improve the lives of renters across the country.”

    Luke Murphy, IPPR Associate Director for Energy, Climate, Housing and Infrastructure, said:

    Our report shows that tenants, landlords and the public all recognise that there are serious problems with the current system of private renting.

    “Private renting fails to provide the stable and affordable homes that tenants, particularly families with children, require. The need for reform is clear and increasingly urgent.”

    SEE ALSO  -        Councils failing tenants and good landlords

    UP NEXT -            Insider insights on "game-changer" PRS report

    DON'T MISS -       Landlords' public image - spivs and rogues

    NOW WATCH:

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    I had to look up who the IPPR are and according to Google:

    "The Institute for Public Policy Research is a left-wing think tank based in London. It was founded in 1988 and is an independent registered charity. IPPR has offices in Newcastle, Manchester, and Edinburgh. Funding comes from trust and foundation grants, government support, and individual donors.

    Type of business: Progressive think tank"

    Not sure what a 'progressive' think tank is but the whole report smacks of bias imho. How can you have a think tank that is politically biased, in this case, left-wing?

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    I noticed that all the comments selected for inclusion in the report were very bias.  It's good to understand the agenda of the organisation behind such reports!!

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    I must admit I scrolled down the highlighted list of findings, thought to myself "nothing new here", then looked at who commissioned it. When I saw 'left-wing' I made my post after seeing who the IPPR are.

    There's far too much of this sort of 'news' out there, and unfortunately Joe Public is getting the drip-drip effect all the time, but probably not aware where it's coming from and why. Every organisation who broadcasts/publishes appears to have a political agenda these days as well and do they ever let us know what it is!

    The best part about 'findings' like this is just to ask the question of how much social housing did the last Labour Govt. provide over its years in office compared with the last year of the Cons under Maggie. Not trying to justify the Cons as they're all tarred with the same brush and I'm NOTA all the way now.

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    I can see the pros and cons of tenant and landlord having been both, but now that I am looking at property investment as a vehicle to supplement my poor pension, the biggest issue I see when looking at the various options there are in the property market, is the massive disparity between the Government and the Local Authorities with regard to private landlords and help for those that need affordable housing.

    At almost every turn the Government has initiated some form of increased tax or reduction of tax benefits, for landlords which has created a massive knock on effect which, even to maintain their level of income, landlords will have to increase rents to the tenants, which seems counter intuitive to helping increase the number of properties that would be affordable,  Also many of those landlords will now sell some or all of their portfolios due to section 24 and the removal of the 10% allowance against wear and tear, which means they are likely to give notice to current tenants in order to sell the property vacant, or sell the properties to new landlords who will, when new tenancy agreements are due, put the rent up.   Again doesn't help tenants..

    Tenants who may be on benefits will either have to see if they can get additional benefits or, in some way, earn extra money without losing benefits to pay for any increases that the landlords may ask for, due to their own tax situation. 

    So what the Government is taking from one side may have to make allowances for on the other side..

    I'm guessing this is part of the reason landlords are hesitant to rent to people on benefits.  There is and I'm sure always will be, a stigma surrounding people on benefits, and I for one know in the majority of cases, it is totally unfounded, but when landlords feel that they are being penalised by taxes and there seems to be a blindness in the Government to understand that the service landlords provide is essential to those that, for whatever reason, can't afford to get on the property ladder, they have to cater for those tenants that can afford the rents that landlords now have ask for.

    Then we have the added issue of Article 4 for potential landlords to contend with, where there may be a need for housing for people, they are now blocked by planning and in the meantime there are lots demands coming from Government to local authorities to have a % of new builds.. 

    Why not let landlords rent out existing stock if there is a demand for it, rather than make those who have a need, move out of the areas they may wish to live, whilst waiting for these 1000's of new houses to be built, which could take years.

    As a newbie to property I would be happy to rent to people on support provided there was some sort of assurances from the Local Authorities that should those tenants prove to be troublesome, that I as a landlord, had a quick solution to remove them rather than the long winded Section 21 or 8, and where damages have occurred that rather than make the landlord pay higher insurance premiums which, again, I'm sure would eventually be passed on the tenant, that there was some compensation available for the time and cost to make repairs and the void in the rental income.

    I know that there are a few local authorities that will offer to manage landlords properties and help with voids etc. But as I understand it the amount of rental income that landlords can get privately, renting to professionals can be £100's of pounds more.

    So why would anyone who is getting penalised buy government taxes on the one hand, loose out on the other side to help with affordable housing with local authorities?

    I hope that one day good hardworking landlords will be able to make a good living and good hard working people will have affordable housing, but that, I fear, is some time off, whilst our respective leader in Government and Local Authorities don't get their acts together..

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    Agreed all the way.

    Benefit tenants who try to get more income from working - do though face a massive headwind via the 63% benefit taper. In plain terms that means earnings over the Personal Tax Allowance are taxed at 32% as usual - but from the residual 68% - there is a further 63% reduction - hence net extra earnings are just 25.16% of gross extra earnings. Although NMW will be a tad over £8 hr from April - working for a net £2 hr is slave wages.

    Anyone with pension contributions/childcare/commute costs can literally be worse off by working more - that bit was ignored when IDS said repeatedly that work always pays!

    Interestingly though - is that EHS 2016/17 flags that in SRS the portion of workless households has shown a marked reduction over previous decade - no doubt due to far tougher stance of DWP who make it extremely challenging for working age people to continue claiming JSA long term.

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    Here we go again  Political Think tank spin

    we have not got a chance

    Left wing Policy's have a habit of being listened too

    and It could well put us out of Business because of Spin

    Expand in BTL if you want too But you could be digging your own financial grave

    We are becoming the Punch Bag for anyone who wants to punch us

    The hatred of BTL is unreal

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    Learn Change and Adapt ?????

    All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.


    Of course private renting is unfair to tenants. Tenants remain at the wim of the landlord and thats the bottom line. The shoe is now coming on the other foot so landlords beware its no longer a one way deal.

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    An increasing number of new social tenancies are being granted on short fixed terms of 2 to 5 yrs - with an initial 12 months probationary period (to ensure rent is paid).

    New build social rents can often be around 80% of market rent - as HAs now get only 14% Capital Subsidy from central Govt and 86% commercial loans at av 4.125% pa interest repaid typically over 60 yrs mandates rents at that level. Lenders also usually put covenants in their loan agreements with HAs stipulating that rents are maintained at a specified level - failing which lender has right to reprice whole loan book.

    Yes PRS is not perfect - but now that SRS is having to compete on a more level playing field (acquisition cost) no surprise that they begin to operate more like PRS. 

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    I was looking at it from the private landlord side, not social schemes. These are coming in as the private rental sector is not working. Also these schemes are needed as the government appears to be waking up to the fact that lower paid people cannot afford to live in many areas pp in big cities. This is and will lead to a major breakdown in public services unless its fixed. Time is running out for the government.

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    I'm a private landlord. I bought a house to rent out 6 years ago. A young family moved in - and are still there.

    They've always paid the rent promptly, I've always ensured repairs are attended to promptly and generally kept the house in good repair. I self-manage my property and visit regularly so I have a personal relationship with them.

    The marriage broke up and the mum was really worried that I would want her to move out as she would then be on benefits. I re-assured her that I would not dream of disrupting their life, the kids moving to a new school, losing their friends etc. At a time of family turmoil the kids need as much stability as possible. I keep the rent at the level of local housing benefit. Yes, I could possibly have rented it to a new tenant for £100 more a month but it is THEIR HOME.

    She is  single mum, with three kids, living on benefits. Twenty years ago so was I.  Yes, I'm a private landlord but I'm a human being first.

    I suspect there are many other landlords who also are happy to keep a good tenant rather than trying to squeeze every last penny out of a property. And many other private landlords who are also human beings.

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