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Portsmouth PRS Strategy Consultation Starts


 Members may remember meetings earlier this year when we discussed the PCC draft strategy for the private rented sector (published in January, see it here). It contained 9 proposed strategic objectives, 14 actions which could be taken without external involvement and 9 more that would need the help of others including us.

A consultation has now started to try to assess the relative importance of each of the 9 proposed strategic objectives and also, to gain the views of the general public on the need for and the likely effectiveness of some of the proposed actions.

Patrick Lee, who will be at our October meeting to answer questions, said "Consultation on the draft strategy was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but we're now at a stage where we are looking to consult with anyone interested in the issues surrounding the private rental sector in Portsmouth. This information will be used to inform and develop the final strategy and subsequent action plans."

How Do You Participate? 

Patrick went on to say, "The Private Rental Strategy consultation aims to give everyone an opportunity to have their say to help create housing solutions in the short and long term that will benefit the whole city.

Here's a link to the consultation: https://www.research.net/r/PRSConsultation2020"

In our view, it is unfortunate that the form PCC have used for consultations about strategies of late has been structured to try and judge aspirational priorities – so if you simply click through saying 'Yes, this is important' or 'Yes, this is very important' you will end up having said it is all important and wonderful without telling PCC anything useful. What we need members to do is to spend a few minutes adding some explanation of what will and what will not work and if there is a cost to us, what is it – too often new policies are introduced, such as more communal space requirements without, in that example, an understanding of how many rooms are removed from the market or the impact that had on rent levels

Why Bother? 

There are some good ideas in the strategy but we need to ensure PCC have as much comment from landlords as they get from tenants and other stakeholders and only that way, may we see change for the better.

So, whether you complete the questionnaire, attend the October member meeting or both, here are some questions which may help you form your thoughts:

  • PCC want to understand the services they could provide that would support landlords, what help do you need?
  • Do you see any benefit to be gained from landlord accreditation?
  • What PCC information for landlords needs improving or is it all perfect?
  • If PCC paid improved deposits and bonds would you be more inclined to accept tenants from their housing list?
  • What could PCC do to help you avoid evicting tenants?
  • Are you treated fairly by council staff? If not this is your chance to help them do better
  • "More tenants who can sustainably afford rent will be encouraged." What does that mean?

We will obviously submit a view on behalf of the PDPLA, but we need you to talk to us in person at a forthcoming meeting, online at the meeting with Patrick or via email or phone – whatever works for you.Some of our current thoughts requiring your input:

  • Paying deposits and bonds for tenants means they have less invested in making the tenancy work. If required they should be loans that can be written off if the tenant meets their obligations.
  • There needs to be a team to support tenancies as there once was, not part of housing options but working to help landlords and tenants.
  • A long way to go with objective 8 and HMOs. The regulatory function is far from fair, transparent or PROFESSIONAL. The very fact that someone has to ask this question rather makes the point.
  • PCC have so much basic stuff to get right they should not get distracted by accreditation, Rent it Right and more licensing.

Do you agree with any of the above?  We see the problems when members bring them to us - are we missing all the 'this was great' experiences' or do we have the right perspective?  Do let us know.

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