Education and training is the key to better PRS housing standards


Dear Sirs

I am writing in response to ‘support for those in rented homes’ by Alan Rice on Thursday 18th January 2018.

Education and training is the key to better standards in the Private Rental Sector.

It appears that Alan Rice thinks he has another reason to drum up support for the ‘landlord bashing brigade’, by blaming them for the current homelessness crisis in Weston Super Mare. The true cause of homelessness is very complex and has been exacerbated over the last few years by the sustained attack on the Private Rented Sector. Landlords are now avoiding renting to tenants on benefits due to Government miss-management of benefit changes, unnecessary licencing and tax grab measures (Section 24). Landlords are also having to sell as it’s not viable to rent because of Section 24 (where mortgage interest payments are not being allowed as a finance cost of running the business).

Mr Rice claims the ending of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is the main reason for homelessness, I have explained before, it’s the last thing a landlord in Weston wants. I speak from 12 years of experience as a landlord and I work with over 60 landlords renting over 1000 properties locally; where is Mr Rice’s local property knowledge coming from? The rental market in Weston has only recently seen rent increases after 15 years of stagnation, ironically most of the rent rises have stemmed from the new tax grab mentioned above. Landlords prefer long term tenancies, and non-payment of rent or anti-social behaviour are the main reasons that tenancies end in our area. I know this for a FACT as I work with these landlords.

I think it is about time Mr Rice gained more knowledge on the local reality of the rental market in Weston before advising tenants. He claims Licencing is the only option (where the cost only gets passed onto the tenant), yet he doesn’t know what we at the NLCE are doing locally. The NLCE are marketing their services to  tenants in order to help them resolve landlord issues, the online tenant reporting system provided by the NLCE will help expose any bad landlords and the tenants are the key to finding poor property conditions. We are making positive change in the Private Rental sector in Weston super mare, and working very hard to do this.

The irony is the new North Somerset consultation covers a wider area than the previously proposed Selective Licencing (SL) scheme and it is not ‘voluntary’ in as much as the landlord can choose an inspection or accreditation. More to the point, North Somerset Council do not currently have the criteria to justify a new Selective Licencing scheme.

Finally, it should be noted that the recent positive interaction between local landlords and the council has seen an increase in housing stock being offered to North Somerset Housing Options team, actually helping to reduce homelessness in our area.

Sam Jackson, Local Landlord and Director of the Weston super mare, North Somerset.

REMEMBER that the Review of Housing Conditions in the private rented sector in North Somerset IS LIVE but closes on 30th January at 5.00. Therefore we URGE YOU to share your views, comments and ideas on the Review, by sharing your opinions here:

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