Propertymark Helps Launch Fairer Renting Group
Portsmouth landlords have been represented at a newly launched Housing Coalition at Westminster. The group aims to bring together landlord, letting agent and tenant organisations among others to ensure a smooth transition after the Renters Reform Bill is implemented. The Housing Coalition held its first meeting at Propertymark's headquarters in London in November 2023 to launch the group in person following several online meetings.
What Is Fairer Renting?
Propertymark, the body that accredits letting and estate agents, has collaborated with other leading sector organisations, forums and landlord associations to coordinate the launch of a new group committed to fairer renting.
The guest speaker at the meeting was Andrew Lewer MP, the Conservative MP for Northampton South, member of the House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector. (Members may remember live feeds of his committee in action - in a world of political point scoring and short term and often daft ideas, Andrew and members of his committee really do seem to understand how the Private Rented Sector works and what is wrong with the current regulatory framework).
The Housing Coalition is made up of organisations that represent landlords, property agents or work directly within private rented sector housing. The group has been formed to allow a collaborative voice to improve standards within the sector, make private renting fairer for the benefit of landlords, agents, and tenants alike and to provide an environment for landlords and agents to support housing needs.
Alwin Oliver, of Portsmouth & District Private Landlords Association represented Portsmouth landlords at the launch. He told the meeting "There is now a clear case for a specialist housing court supported by a conciliation service, along the lines of ACAS in Employment Tribunals". He continued "the need is to avoid evictions wherever possible, but not delay where it is inevitable".
Alwin argued that a specialist housing court could provide more information about why evictions are taking place, as this is often poorly understood, even within the industry.
Membership currently includes:
- Possession Friend
- North East Landlords Association
- Safe Agent
- Property 118
- Property Tribes
- Cornwall Residential Landlords Association
- Greater Yarmouth Landlords Association
- Humber and District Landlords Association
- Portsmouth and District Landlords Association
- Northwest Landlords Association
- Scottish Association of Landlords
The Coalition is also keen to expand membership to be an inclusive Coalition to include organisations that are supportive of improving the supply, quality and environment for private rental sector housing.
Members of the Coalition can recommend items for discussion to be included on the agenda. The group has already been campaigning on the issue of abandonment. However, the Housing Coalition has agreed the following key focus areas:
- Renters (Reform) Bill - the Housing Coalition will jointly campaign to ensure the needs of landlords, agents and the private rental sector are being heard. This will include the challenge of moving from fixed terms to period, which may adversely impact student lets, local authorities having adequate resources to maintain standards within the private rental sector and that the UK Government introduces pro-growth measures to stimulate the supply of private rental sector properties.
- Legal and court reform - while the Housing Coalition recognise that the abolishment of Section 21 may have an adverse impact on the sector, the Housing Coalition further recognises cross party support to improve security of tenure by abolishing Section 21 and ensuring landlords seek possession via the courts.
- Improving standards within the private rental sector - the introduction of the Decent Homes Standard must be tailored to the private rented sector; local authorities have a key role in improving standards and need more support and with the UK Government committed to meeting Net Zero by 2050 landlords can help but they need financial and taxation incentives.
Commenting after the launch, Tim Thomas, Policy and Campaigns Officer at Propertymark, who leads on the secretariat for the Housing Coalition, said:
"This is a fantastic opportunity for Propertymark and other leading sector organisations, forums and landlord associations to collaborate and make sure that our voices are heard when it comes to reforming the private rental sector. There is so much more work that needs to be done on improving standards, legal and court reform, and the upcoming Renters Reform Bill. It was fantastic to have the support of Andrew Lewer MP at our launch so that we can ensure our voices are heard by politicians. By working together and harnessing our collective experiences, knowledge, data and case studies from across the country we can challenge policy makers and bring about positive change going forward."
Chris Daniels from Possession Friend added:
"The housing position for so many across the country has descended to such levels that everyone involved or interested in housing should collaborate with the Housing Coalition to discuss potential improvement."