The private-rented sector has been in the spotlight today for two reasons:
(i) Shelter launched the latest phase of their ‘Evict Rogue Landlords’ campaign
(ii) The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published the latest bulletin based on the long-running English Housing Survey (EHS)
Although it may not be immediately apparent, both of these events are comprehensively interlinked.
Taking the ‘Evict Rogue Landlords’ campaign first. It is frustrating that the private-rented sector and in particular private-residential landlords only ever hit the headlines because of the, frankly indefensible, actions of a small criminal minority. However, it is a minority which we, as an industry, cannot afford to ignore because of the impact they have on our reputation as a whole.
A recent survey of NLA members found that only seven per cent believe that landlords are viewed positively by the general public – which is a serious issue for a profession responsible for providing housing to millions of households.
This is especially distressing when you consider the information published by DCLG. According to the EHS 16.5 per cent of households in England and Wales now live in privately rented accommodation, only one per cent behind social tenancies. (Roughly 3.8 versus 3.6 million households)
At the current rate of expansion it is likely that around one quarter of us will rent their home from a private landlord within a decade.
Any sector demonstrating such rapid growth is bound to experience its fair share of bad practice. In actual terms, the number of complaints against landlords only amount to around 2% of all PRS tenancies. But unlike other service industries, housing is an integral part of each of our lives, it affects our ability to work, raise families, stay healthy – in essence it impacts upon every aspect of our lives. So there can be no acceptance of negligence or derogation of duty.
With growth in the PRS’ market share will inevitably (and rightly) come greater focus. What is not inevitable is bad practice. It is up to conscientious, law abiding majority to do everything we can to change the tide, ensure rogue landlords have no-where to hide.
Why not set yourself apart from the rest by signing up to a landlord accreditation scheme like NLA Accreditation.