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Proposed rental scheme in Northern Ireland ‘huge threat’ to agents

Proposal will offer landlords guaranteed rent in return for tenancies of 3-5 five years but could suck 50% of stock out of market at lower end.

Nigel Lewis

northern ireland

A private rental market scheme being proposed in Northern Ireland by it government could see some letting agents there lose up to half their stock, it has been claimed.

ARLA Propertymark says the introduction of a Private Sector Leasing (PSL) scheme as revealed by the Northern Ireland Executive at Stormont would be ‘bad news’ for both letting agents and landlords.

The PSL will be a national rent-to-rent style scheme offering landlords a long-term lease on properties and enabling tenants to sign up for tenancies of between three and five years.

In return landlords would be offered in return for a lower but guaranteed rental income similar in many ways to the rent-to-rent model offered by many agents all over the UK.

ARLA Propertymark is worried that the scheme, if it became popular, would hoover up market share in the lower end of the market and could ‘steal’ up to 50% of this kind of stock from full-management lettings agents.

The scheme is part of an NI Department of Communities initiative to make better use of the private rented sector and provide a wider range of housing options to combat homelessness and meet housing needs.

Other plans

Other plans include extending notice periods from four to eight weeks, a fast-track evictions process for problem tenants, tougher regulations on electrical and carbon monoxide safety, minimum landlord fitness standards and restricting rent increases to once a year.

“The introduction of a leasing scheme such as this could generate competition for agents who are well established in their areas and have already been managing properties well,” says Daryl Mcintosh, Manager for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales at Propertymark.

“What would be more positive, would be to support the sector to improve through the introduction of legislation on property standards.”

May 7, 2021

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