A report co-authored by one of the UK’s leading mortgage lenders has lambasted letting agents and landlords and called for radical changes, claiming that renting is ‘unfair on tenants’.
Shelter and the Nationwide have published Time for Change – Making Renting Fairer with cross party support including Labour but also Bright Blue, a Conservative think tank endorsed by Michael Gove.
Some of the report’s suggestions will familiar to agents who’ve read Lord Best’s Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) proposals including greater regulation of estate agents, an over-arching regulator for the property industry and better funding for councils’ housing enforcement.
But more politically dangerous suggestions include a national landlords’ registration scheme for England and abolishing the government’s highly contentious Right to Rent immigration system.
More predictably, the report backs abolishing Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and giving tenants more power to assert their rights.
Both letting agents and landlords get a drubbing in the report, which highlights examples of unethical or illegal behaviour by them.
This includes unauthorised entry into properties, not protecting rental deposits, rejecting applications in receipt of benefits and sexual harassment.
“We want to improve the lives of private renters by campaigning to make renting more stable, secure and accountable. We also want to tackle discrimination in the sector,” says a joint statement from Nationwide Chief Executive Joe Garner and Shelter chief Polly Neate (pictured, above).
“But many private renters are still faced with poor quality housing, poor landlord, housing management agent and letting agent practice2 and discrimination. Renters also face an underlying lack of security and power.”