M&M Properties Sales & Lettings

The Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) has hit back at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s latest calls for more regulation of the sector, arguing that there has been plenty of recent legislation already.

Mr Corbyn claimed last week that poor conditions are rife in the private rented sector (PRS) and that this is because the government is “in the pockets of property speculators and rogue landlords”.

The RLA commented: “This will come as news to many in the PRS, given the almost constant drip of new legislation from the government, placing new burdens on landlords and tightening of the financial screws.”

It also stated that Mr Corbyn’s criticisms about standards in housing are “conveniently ignoring” the fact that in many cases these are issues that can be tackled by the councils using powers that already exist. Many of the councils failing to act are run by Labour, it noted.

Examples given by the RLA include those of Newham in London and Salford in Greater Manchester.

In the former case, the RLA noted that Newham’s mayor Sir Robin Wales had told the Communities and Local Government Select Committee enquiry into the rental sector that the council’s licensing scheme for landlords was “ineffective without enforcement”.  However, most of the council’s prosecutions were for the lack of a licence, not actual shortcomings in housing standards.

It similarly criticised Salford, where it noted the council had claimed conditions were unfit in 2,000 homes, yet only 93 landlords had been prosecuted since it introduced its own licensing scheme.

The situation is one that evidently frustrates the RLA, as opposition politicians seek more regulation and the government continues to impose it.

More legislation will soon be on the way, after communities secretary Sajid Javid revealed last month that the government will support the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill, a private member’s bill sponsored by the Labour MP for Westminster North Karen Buck.

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By Gary Whittaker