The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has accused campaign group, Generation Rent of playing to people’s fears on the private rented sector and failing to provide a true reflection of the sector.
Generation Rent has launched a consultation on its manifesto for the sector but the RLA is warning that it fails to provide a balanced picture, and instead seeks to exaggerate the scale of the challenges facing tenants.
The RLA says Generation Rent writes of “soaring rents” leaving many tenants facing financial difficulties. But it says this fails to note figures from the Office for National Statistics which show that rents in the private rented sector have been increasing by much less than inflation measured both by CPI and RPI.
Over the last year they increased by just 1% alone in England and have been increasing by much less than both measures of inflation over the past nine years as well.
The RLA also points out that whilst the Generation Rent consultation calls for rent controls, it fails to address the impact these would have on investment as outlined last year by MPs on the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.
Generation Rent argues that the private rented sector is “characterised by insecure, short-term tenancies”. But the RLA says this fails to recognise that the English Housing Survey notes that the average length of residency for a tenant in the private rented sector is now 3.8 years. Furthermore, as the official survey notes, “in general, those who had lived in their home for longer paid less rent.”
While Generation Rent argues that “landlords and letting agents are astonishingly unregulated”, the RLA points out that there are more than 100 Acts of Parliament containing around 400 individual requirements
Another accusation from the campaign groups is that “environmental health teams invariably have too few staff to oversee enforcement”. However the RLA says it fails to outline how to boost enforcement capacity and to properly find and root out those criminal landlords who persistently operate under the radar whilst the good landlords get burdened with ever growing weights of red tape.
RLA policy director Richard Jones said: “The RLA recognises that there are many challenges facing the private rented sector. It is however important that policy solutions are rooted in evidence rather seeking to play on and exploit people’s gut fears of the sector.
“It is time the politics of division came to an end in favour of a reasoned and rational debate about how to ensure the sector is fit for the 21st Century, both for landlords and tenants.”