Belvoir issues an open letter to the Prime Minister asking her to consider the appointment of a housing tsar and an ombudsman redress scheme for tenants

by Property 118

14:30 PM, 15th June 2017
About A year ago

Belvoir issues an open letter to the Prime Minister asking her to consider the appointment of a housing tsar and an ombudsman redress scheme for tenants

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Belvoir issues an open letter to the Prime Minister asking her to consider the appointment of a housing tsar and an ombudsman redress scheme for tenants

Following the recent appointment of another new Housing and Planning minister, Belvoir, which has over 300 High Street Offices in the UK, is suggesting the appointment of a cross-party housing tsar to work with industry experts, social housing providers and all housing stake holders to create a stable property market with long-term vision.

Former Foreign Office minister Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, is currently Britain’s sixth Housing Minister since the Tories came into power in 2010.

As Housing Ministers are only remaining in post for approximately 12 months I believe that the appointment of a housing tsar, who could work with industry experts and politicians from all parties, and then make recommendations to the new Housing Minister, would be an effective way of increasing market stability, and would be extremely beneficial for the housing industry.

Belvoir has long been calling for action that will encourage landlords back into the sector, as landlords are undoubtedly best placed to supply much-needed new rental properties. It is no longer acceptable to use landlords as a scapegoat for the failings of successive Housing Ministers with short term plans for the housing market. A long-term, strategic vision for a housing market that works for everyone is desperately needed. Although there are reports that investment in the City into Build to Rent will rise to £70 billion by 2021, this will still not supply anything like the 1.8 million homes that are needed in this country for those who are reliant on the Private Rental Sector.

Belvoir is fully committed to mandatory Client Money Protection (CMP) schemes and full licensing schemes of all landlords, similar to schemes introduced in Scotland and Wales. The previous Housing Minister seemed to suggest that CMP will become mandatory, however there is no mention of ensuring that the five million tenants in the UK who currently rent through private landlords will have access to an ombudsman scheme which will allow them fair redress, similar to consumers of telecommunications and energy companies.

Currently, only tenants who rent through letting agents have access to an ombudsman scheme, which seems to be extremely unfair. If the government is going to ban or cap tenant fees we believe that additional measures should be introduced to provide protection for the millions of tenants who rent through private landlords.

I hope that the new Housing Minister will be looking at these and other key issues, and I am confident that the appointment of a housing tsar could result in an improved long-term strategy for the industry.

Yours sincerely,

Dorian Gonsalves,

Chief Operating Officer

Exclusive quote for Property118 readers from Dorian Gonsalves:

“The changes to mortgage interest tax relief introduced by George Osborne in 2015 at the height of his ‘tax and cut’ austerity measures has restricted the supply of rental properties, increased rents for many tenants and acts as a disincentive for landlords to invest in new rental homes, some of which are not currently in occupation and may need major refurbishment. We either need more homes or we don’t. If we do, every measure should be taken to increase the supply of new homes including new and creative incentives to encourage landlords to invest in, and provide, more housing in areas where it’s desperately needed.”



Comments

Mark Alexander

14:48 PM, 15th June 2017
About A year ago

Excellent idea, the proposals have my backing.

Perhaps the housing tsar could also consider the "Deed of Assurance" again as it has been working well for me and many other landlords and agents for several years now. The real beneficiaries are of course the tenants.
.

Mandy Thomson

10:48 AM, 17th June 2017
About A year ago

This is a good idea, at least in theory as housing in this country and the PRS in particular is currently being used as a political football. We need to take the politics out of housing and Parliament needs to listen without bias to everyone involved in the industry.

I also agree that "full licensing schemes of all landlords, similar to schemes introduced in Scotland and Wales" need to be introduced in England (though I am against local authority licensing schemes, I strongly believe a national scheme that requires landlord accreditation and sets clear rules for the whole country would not only be a good thing, but is necessary).

However, although the Welsh scheme should work in theory, it has been criticised as poorly drafted and many landlords still haven't signed up. There needs to be a gatekeeper to ensure landlords are aware of and compliant with legislation, and this needs to be a service a landlord has no choice but to use to maintain or set up a buy to let; for example, mortgage providers and/or HMRC. So let's say a landlord couldn't get a BTL mortgage until they produced their landlord licence certificate or their tax return would not be accepted until their landlord registration number was provided.

Many landlords will rail against me for advocating national licensing, but in my role as a landlord advisor I come across many landlords (educated, intelligent people) who dig themselves into a legal and financial hole because they are completely unaware of the legislation affecting what they are trying to do. When someone buys a property, most people don't do their own conveyancing, so why allow inexperienced landlords to set up a binding contract with serious legal and financial implications when they have little idea of what they're doing?

I also support the RLA's campaign for dedicated housing courts. Although their emphasis is on swifter evictions, which assists landlords but potentially creates another homeless household for the state to deal with, the other side of the argument is that landlords would be keener to let to disadvantaged tenants if they could rely on swifter justice and more support when the arrangement goes wrong. This argument is counter intuitive at face value, but makes sense on closer, objective examination. Therefore, swifter. easier evictions could in fact reduce homelessness.

Mark Alexander

11:34 AM, 17th June 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mandy Thomson" at "17/06/2017 - 10:48":

Well put Mandy ?
.

Mark Alexander

11:35 AM, 17th June 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "17/06/2017 - 11:34":

PS - an NLA adviser supporting an RLA initiative. Is that a first?
.

Mandy Thomson

12:53 PM, 17th June 2017
About A year ago

Ha ha! Many NLA staff are also RLA members and I'm not aware of the NLA opposing anything helpful the RLA comes up with (as opposed to unhelpful such as their endorsement of the Liverpool licensing scheme... 🙂 )

terry sullivan

14:22 PM, 19th June 2017
About A year ago

another quango for the troughers to feast on--no thanx!!

all quangos are political--thats why tbliar and idiot dave liked them so much


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