Family-run property management firm, Apropos by DJ Alexander Ltd, suggests that the UK needs to get rid of their bad landlords and agents to ensure fairer treatment of tenants.
According to the firm, a recent Panorama documentary highlighted the unfairness, the inequity and the simple cruelty of some landlords under the current legislation. The programme, which focused on Fergus Wilson, revealed an attitude which must be changed.
David Alexander, joint managing director of Apropos by DJ Alexander Ltd, explained: “The Panorama programme highlighted how dysfunctional parts of the private rented sector (PRS) has become. Fergus Wilson was happy to be quoted saying “The landlord rules, not the tenant” and “We’ve got two types of tenants. Those that agree with me and ex-tenants.
These attitudes have no place in the modern PRS. That the programme revealed Mr Wilson was retiring from the PRS must be welcomed as his views and actions towards his tenants are simply wrong and are being facilitated by out-dated, unfair, and unjust legislation. There are, obviously, changes coming through which will curtail some of the worst activities of some unscrupulous landlords. The Tenants Fees Bill is enforced from June this year, but further major action needs to be taken and there is a way forward as exemplified by existing changes to the law in Scotland.
For example, the regulations in the forthcoming Tenants Fees Bill in England and Wales have been in place in Scotland since 2012; the no fault grounds for eviction notices (as highlighted in the Panorama documentary) no longer apply in Scotland; and the Scottish government recently introduced much greater security of tenure for tenants. In many ways Scotland has led the way in improving the rights of tenants and changing the relationship between landlord and tenant.”
David commented: “All of the changes which have already occurred in Scotland lead to complaints from landlords and agents that it would mean the end of the lettings market. Yet with each change the world has not collapsed, landlords and agents are still making money from property and the best in the market adapt.”
One of the focuses of the Panorama documentary was the issuing of no-fault grounds for eviction notices. When it was announced these would end in Scotland and much greater security of tenure for tenants coming this was feared by some in the property market as a sign of them losing control. On the contrary it gives agents, landlords and tenants the opportunity to develop a relationship built on trust, on fairness, and on developing a long-term relationship to their mutual benefit.”
David concluded: “These regulatory changes must be viewed as a positive in changing the property market which was using legislation based on a model of renting which is unrecognisable compared to the present day. When the 1988 Housing Act was introduced the private rented sector was quite small, quite niche, and landlord ownership was not as widespread as it is now.
We now have a sector which is the second largest of all the housing market with over four million tenants and landlords are providing these people with homes and are not simply a means for them to earn money. The future is in building upon these legislative and regulatory changes to create a system which benefits all sides to ensure that tenants are secure in their homes, able to communicate any issues which arise, and have difficulties resolved easily and amicably. Landlords meanwhile can be assured that they are providing quality homes for individuals over long periods who are happy, secure and safe in the knowledge that the interests of all participants in the private rented sector are benefitting from the relationship.
The regulations and legislation must reflect the new reality that the PRS is here to stay and we must develop a system of operating which is fair to all involved.”