Landlords have been treated unfairly, Truss tells Beadle

Landlords have been treated unfairly, Truss tells Beadle

9:34 AM, 13th September 2022, About 3 weeks ago 22

Text Size

The newly published Decent Homes Standard is yet another example of lawmakers laying down rules without any understanding of the rental market – but the new prime minister has promised a sea change.

New prime minister Liz Truss says she feels landlords have been treated unfairly by previous governments and wants to create a less hostile environment.

In an exclusive interview, NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle told Property118 that he had spoken personally with Ms Truss at a leadership hustings and received firm assurances on the issue.

“She told me directly that she felt that landlords had been harshly treated these past years under a Conservative government and she wanted to create an environment that rather than landlords selling their properties and leaving the sector, that actually they remain and wish to invest,” said Mr Beadle.

“That’s a marked change from what we have seen for these past years and we shall be pushing hard to make sure that translates into more appropriate policies.”

Major change needed

He called for a major change of direction on housing policy.

“We need to see some ‘big C’ conservative policies now. The last administration has been hell bent on shrinking the sector, bashing landlords and looking at landlords as a cash cows.

“Actually, we are the only people that are providing homes to a significant level. I’m very happy that they are judged to a higher standard but we really do need a change of tack.

“I’m looking at the new administration to review section 24 mortgage interest changes; I would like them to do something about stamp duty to make it more attractive for people to invest; I’d like them to build social housing; remove the freeze on the local housing allowance so people can better afford rents in their area, and I’d like them to look again at the way Department for Work & Pensions treats landlords when it comes to Universal Credit, which is frankly a disgrace.”

Decent Homes Standard

Mr Beadle’s comments came just days after the release of the government’s new Decent Homes Standard discussion document, drawn up under the previous administration.

It seeks to imposes a minimum standard on homes in the private rented sector (PRS), previously reserved for public sector housing.

While most of its provisions are uncontentious, many landlords are concerned about the reference to properties having a ‘reasonable degree of thermal comfort’, which they fear could be tied into the projected rise in minimum EPC ratings from E to C.

The new rules apply to new tenancies from 2025 and all existing tenancies from 2028. It is already illegal to let a property with an F or G rating, unless it is a listed building, when exemptions apply.

Mr Beadle said he had been giving evidence recently to the Fuel Fuel Poverty Commission – and had made the point that “while we all know we’ve got to play our part” on climate change, “lobbing in a hand grenade [on EPC ratings] 18 months ago and then having radio silence since is spooking people”.

‘Landlords will sell stock’

He continued: “I think landlords can help governments achieve their aspirations. But I’m afraid if there isn’t help then landlords will sell some of their stock. We are already seeing a shrinking private rented sector – 260,000 homes have left the sector in the last five years, and look at what we are seeing: costs increase across the board, demand massively outstripping supply, yet rents are rising 3.2%, a rate lower than the social sector which was 4.1% in April.

“If we have landlords selling their properties, not only is there a likelihood that property will not stay in the private rented sector, reducing the pool of property available, the property won’t be available anyway. It will go into the owner-occupier sector and the government will be no better off.”

Mr Beadle said the NRLA wanted to see a far more pragmatic approach to energy. “Yes, we accept the private rented sector will need to play its part, but there does need to be support to enable landlords and property owners to help government achieve their aspirations.”

Legislation unfit for purpose

His comments were echoed by Ian Maitland, president of the South West Landlords’ Association, who said landlords had been pilloried for too long.

“Shelter takes statistics from a very small proportion of properties, they extrapolate them and then they feed them to government, and gullible ministers who then produce legislation that is totally unfit for purpose.

“Councils are as worried as our members are about the words ‘reasonable degree of thermal comfort’ when landlords are under so many other pressures from the legislation brought in by Mr Osborne in 2014.

“With interest rates going up, and the removal of mortgage interest relief, we can run through a list of how landlords have been over-regulated and overtaxed over the past eight or ten years, and to add this burden will surely send even more out of the market. Certainly many older landlords are getting out now.”

Mr Maitland added that the people who drew up the legislation were clearly unfamiliar with the standard of build in areas such as the West Country.

‘Some homes will never get a C rating’

“Some of their properties are horrendous and you will never get them to an D, never mind a C. Cornwall is a really good example. There is a dire shortage of housing, and they still can’t bring them up to a C.

“Does the local authority stamp on them and stop them letting them, so increasing the homelessness level? That’s the council saying that, not us. It’s not been well thought out.”

Mr Maitland said he had taken advantage of the Covid-era Green Homes grant, and applied external cladding to some of his terraced Victorian properties in Plymouth, at a cost of around £18,000-£20,000 per building.

Yet despite the new cladding, together with double-glazing and central heating, they still don’t meet a EPC rating of C.

He explained that external cladding also increased the likelihood of condensation and that steps have to be taken to increase the internal airflow to get rid of moisture-laden air and prevent condensation.

Landlords can only hope that the new prime minister is true to her word and instructs her new Housing Secretary Simon Clarke to have a rethink on EPCs, the energy aspect of the Decent Homes Standard – and the Renters’ Reform Bill.

Book a Landlord Tax Planning Consultation

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
    Please provide an overview of your circumstances and what you are looking to achieve.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, we are able to assist landlords who own properties in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Where you reside is not a problem, even if you are resident outside the UK.
  • Landlord Tax Planning Consultancy is the core business activity of Property118 Limited (in association with Cotswold Barristers).


Comments

Shining Wit

12:08 PM, 13th September 2022, About 3 weeks ago

I wonder if this 'rethink' would extend to the unfair and counter-productive differentiation between "Qualifying" and non-qualifying leaseholders. All leaseholders are entirely innocent with regard to 'The Cladding Scandal' which continues to blight the country. All leaseholders, in all buildings, should be be protected the extortionate safety
remediation costs.

DSR

12:20 PM, 13th September 2022, About 3 weeks ago

we can only HOPE that what she has said then transpires into actual action to address 'less hostility'.

Seeing is believing....and the current plans need to be scrapped and the whole issue looked at again properly.

Jonathan Cocks

13:14 PM, 13th September 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by DSR at 13/09/2022 - 12:20
Great news! I hope but the time scale is also important. Do we really have time for this Govt. to start with a blank sheet of paper? After all the govt. are subsidising our energy bills for a few months, and would it not be better to invest in landlords for longer term savings to every tenant?

Maybe landlords and NRLA should give Liz Truss and team a big supporting hand, and highlight the issues together with possible ways forwards. We have to work together to resolve the long term housing issues in UK.

DSR

13:24 PM, 13th September 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Jonathan Cocks at 13/09/2022 - 13:14
Agree - there is no harm at all in NRLA or ANY other LL association representing private LL's to get in there and flood her office with offers of help!

If we all twisted the current rhetoric to show LL ARE themselves trying to help tenants from the offing, that would blow Shelter and Gen Rent's ranting out of the water. What would they have to slate LL's about then? Maybe they could start going hell for leather after the BAD LL's instead - that would see better results than tarring the whole industry with their venom that ultimately does nothing at all to help the housing situation.

B Beadle - are you listening?

Gromit

13:44 PM, 13th September 2022, About 3 weeks ago

I'll believe it when I see it!

Jonathan Cocks

14:38 PM, 13th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by DSR at 13/09/2022 - 12:20
Great news! I hope but the time scale is also important. Do we really have time for this Govt. to start with a blank sheet of paper? After all the govt. are subsidising our energy bills for a few months, and would it not be better to invest in landlords for longer term savings to every tenant?

Maybe landlords and NRLA should give Liz Truss and team a big supporting hand, and highlight the issues together with possible ways forwards. We have to work together to resolve the long term housing issues in UK.

Mick Roberts View Profile

15:05 PM, 13th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Well if that's her stance, that's a Wowzer from me.

“I’m looking at the new administration to review section 24 mortgage interest changes; I would like them to do something about stamp duty to make it more attractive for people to invest; I’d like them to build social housing; remove the freeze on the local housing allowance so people can better afford rents in their area, and I’d like them to look again at the way Department for Work & Pensions treats landlords when it comes to Universal Credit, which is frankly a disgrace.”

Seems like she has some common sense, which is a rarity among MP's.

Chris @ Possession Friend

15:33 PM, 13th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Could the government be moving back in a 'Conservative' direction ?

Paul Essex View Profile

15:58 PM, 13th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

I too will only believe it when I actually see a change.

Even if there are positive moves in the short term, I fear that another government would remove them out of 'principle' . There are just too many 'voices' out there demanding without understanding.

Mick Roberts View Profile

16:16 PM, 13th September 2022, About 2 weeks ago

She's also got some Landlord mates that's been telling her what it's really like

1 2 3

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership

or

Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now