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Starting a campaign to present to 10 Downing Street

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206 views 3 replies latest reply: 22 June 2016
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Tenant

I’m in the process of preparing some kind of campaign over the rental market in the UK, especially in the light of the appalling shortage of “homes” of secure tenure in the UK, and almost all rental property is seen by landlords as way of making money and not providing homes. There is a huge difference. And it’s not just London that suffers from housing problems, or the young for that matter. It is a severe problem throughout. I have been in private rental for 13 years, a good landlord, but every year I have to ask if I can extend for another 12 months, I also have to pay £150 agents fee to renew the tenancy. The agents fee I do begrudge as I did not approach the agents so I’m not their client. My landlord is. That aside, I believe unless the UK take the rental market in hand will end up with more evictions and homeless people. 

Currently most rental is ” Assured Shorthold Tennancy” of 6 to 12 months on average, this does not give anyone the stability to build a home, to become settled and save money to secure a permanant home. Moving is incredibly expensive, not only in letting fees but also moving an entire home if it’s unfurnished. I propose, invesment buy to lets should be restricted as a lot of buy to lets are at the lower end of the market, the entry level young or firt time buyers should have access to, not people who just buy to make money. 

Landlords and letting agents should automatically offer 12, 24 or 36 month tenancies as a matter of course, shorter term for those who are using rental as a steppings tone and longer rentals for those who wnat and need a home, not just a roof over ther head. There should also be a “rolling tenancy” which could be introduced to those after renting for 36 months. Agents fees need to be seriously looked at, perhaps capped as renewal tenancy’s do not produce any additional work they just produce the previous aggreement. I object to paying £150 when I’m not the client, the landlord is. Councils need to be able to buy up affordable homes in the private sector, and not just already established council property. Over the next 10, 20 years more and more people will need to rent and may not ever be able to get on the property ladder. I being one of them, so the Government really needs to address this problem and soon, and unless someone pushes this very serious problem right under their nose it will continue and landlords will continue to see their buy to let as a purely money making concern and NOT providing homes for people. No one can truly make a home if they have to keep moving or renewing their tenancy every 12 months. If anyone knows how I might go about this or offer some advice it would be great! Thank you.

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Agent

Hi Suzanne,

Many of thre points you raise are valid but the problem is so much more complicated than many realise.

Many Landlords would gladly offer longer tenancies however many mirtgage lenders do not permit tenancy agreements of more than 12 months. As such, this si a market restriction not a choice by Landlords per se.

As for fees- trust me, your Landlord will be paying a lot more than £150 for you to renew, that is just your admin fee. If you think about it, this is cheaper than your annual TV license. With increased legislation, agents should be doing a hell of a lot more than just getting new paperwork signed, they will also be ensuring gas safety regs are maintained as well as the other 140+ laws Landlords are obliged to adhere to when letting out a property.

As for capping rents. Many Landlords would be open to such a suggestion but they have to be equally protected. For instance- how can you enfore a rent limit if a Landlords mortgage costs increase? When a Landlord is taking the financial risk and responsibility of letting a property, why should they limit the income and increase their risk for no return?

The truth is, there are some quite easy solutions to this. Tax breaks and mortgage protections for Landlords willing to agree to ‘rent controls’ or who are willing to joing a ‘living rent’ scheme. Another optin is fixed equity housing- where a property’s value is tied to the rate of inflation maintianing an affordable market sector. This would be ‘first tier’ housing where you would buy at a rate substantially below market, have a repayment mortgage building equity in the property, you then sell up 5 years later and use that equity as your deposit to move up the property ladder from there.

However, one of the real issues in addressing housing is indifference. Whilst there are lots of people and campaigners happy to go online and rant and rave about the state of the housing market, few do more. There have been several ‘housing marches’ in london recently. The latest march atrracted a grand total of around 3,000 protesters. In a city of 8.7m residents- that is just 0.034% pf London’s population. Until a decent amount of people are prepared to really stand up and make the government take notice there will be little response to such action.

Hope that helps

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Tenant

I am right with you on all your points! As for the agents response, firstly he needs to learn his grammar, spelling is awful!

Another thing about agents, they work for the Landlord NOT you!

The letting rules in Germany are far better than ours, well worth researching for your campaign.

We will have to see what happens with Brexit on Thursday. EU rules on letting may come into play if we stay? Or better still a change in the law if we leave the EU?

I will back your campaign either way.

Bolly

 

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Tenant

Usually a Letting Agent charges a Landlord a fixed percentage of the rent, plus a fee when finding a new tenant. These fees are also deductible in terms of the Landlords Tax and their BTL. These fees alone are highly profitable to the Letting Agents. Fees to the tenant are bascially double dipping and agents can charge them because they are in a postition to exploit those in need of a roof over their head. If you look at the Australian model, agents charge the landlord 8% plus VAT (from rental income) plus 1 weeks rent as a letting fee at the start of the tenancy. Tentant pay NO FEES at all, even when renewing a lease (nor does the landlord). Letting Agents in England are just taking the piss because they can, so the sooner laws are passed to outlaw these fees, the better (and fairer) it will be for tenants.

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