A leading figure in the PropTech sector wants this week’s Budget to provide more funding for local council enforcement of rental standards.
Neil Cobbold, managing director of automated rental payment specialists PayProp UK, says that one the one hand landlords feel under pressure because of upcoming legislative changes, while tenants want to ensure complaints over ‘rogue’ landlords are acted upon.
Cobbold believes that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt should do some good for both sides of the debate.
So for example Hunt should ensure funding of courts so that a beefed up Section 8 - promised as part of this year’s Renters’ Reform Bill - can ensure fair evictions are acted upon quickly and effectively. And in turn Hunt could provide local authorities with extra resources for enforcement on the small percentage of ‘rogue’ landlords who don’t offer safe homes to tenants.
This extra central government funding would allow councils to enhance enforcement without resorting to local licensing schemes.
“The most important thing is to keep the economy stable and to ease the cost of living crisis. But if the Chancellor does find that he has some wiggle room, he should give priority to the private rented sector” explains Cobbold.
“The PRS amounts to around 20 per cent of the available housing stock in this country and when it faces a crisis, it affects society as a whole. We hope he will recognise that with these changes around the corner, increasing court capacity can give landlords confidence that they can get their properties back in a reasonable timeframe if a tenant does not abide by their tenancy agreement.”
The Renter’s Reform Bill, which is due to be introduced in the current Parliamentary year, looks set to include the abolition of Section 21 evictions, a doubling of the notice periods for rent increases, minimum housing standards, a new ombudsman for the PRS, and greater rights for tenants to keep pets.
Cobbold concludes: “The vast majority of privately rented homes in the UK are built and maintained to a very high standard, providing excellent accommodation for tenants. However, we’ve all seen stories of tenants struggling with poor housing.
“Proper funding for local authorities and Trading Standards will allow them to investigate and bring up to standard the small number of rogue agents and landlords that give the industry a bad reputation, improving the industry for all.”
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