Dear Secretary of State,
Consultation response to the Housing Act Section 21 Proposals
Lenwell Ltd has been operating for nearly 30 years and we currently manage over 3200 properties, with our main portfolios across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and North London.
Our landlord base ranges from landlords that own one or small number of properties, through to landlords with portfolios of over 100. We provide a high-quality service to both our landlords and tenants and the way we operate and the values we apply to our business dealings reflects a high level of professional integrity.
Our day to day experience of providing a managing agents service across our diverse client and geographical basis gives us a clear insight to the challenges of the current housing market from the perspective of both landlords and tenants.
Clearly there are issues about the way the current system operates which need to be addressed, but we are concerned that the changes proposed by Government have the potential to make what is a challenging situation even more challenging.
We are members of ARLA and have seen their very detailed response and would comment as follows:
Lenwell broadly accepting the ARLA response - but particularly emphasising the need for serious consideration for any changes to:
These changes need to also be viewed in the wider context of the Government’s national housing policy. The reality of the current situation in terms of the provision of housing is that, for many it doesn’t seem to be working. The cross-tenure imbalance between demand and supply continues to widen, affordability is an ever-growing concern, the squeeze on margins for private sector landlords and agents and the increasing levels of homelessness and rough sleeping is all too evident.
At the time of making this submission we are just before the Queen’s speech which is due to be delivered to Parliament on the 14th October and its interesting looking at the information provided by the House of Commons Library Briefing, setting out the Government’s legislative intentions for the coming session. The references to tackling some of the very clear housing pressures are limited to the following 'possible legislation':
With the current level of speculation about a forthcoming election, it will be interesting to see the manifesto ambitions for delivering housing solutions across the UK that are presented by the UK political parties. Our view is that what is proposed must be more wide ranging and imaginative than what is being promoted as ‘possible legislation’ in the next Parliamentary session.
Returning to the specific of the current consultation, whilst the changes to Section 21 are being heralded as being a step change in improving tenants’ rights, a more cynical view is that it is an attempt by the Government to use these measures to reduce the numbers of homeless applications coming from the private rented sector, without attempting to tackle any of the more fundamental structural issues facing the housing sector across all tenures.
Without a joined up and holistic approach, the changes being proposed run the risk of causing unintended consequences, which could make the overall supply of housing even more problematical.
A copy of the letter submitted can be downloaded here