Sunday, 04 October 2015

Landlords hit back at Shelter research

An umbrella body for private landlords has hit back at homelessness charity Shelter’s research which said children’s lives are harmed by growing up in rented homes.

Richard Jones, policy director at the Residential Landlords Association’s, accused Shelter of ‘scaremongering’.

He said the charity was playing a ‘dangerous game by frightening off investors from increasing the supply of much-needed private rented housing’.

Shelter’s research, released today, based on a Yougov survey carried out in November last year of 4,327 adults in England living in the private rented sector, found 44 per cent of the respondents said their child would have a better childhood if they had a more stable home.

But the RLA denied landlords were to blame for short tenancies. It said agreements were normally ended by tenants, with only 9 per cent ended by landlords, usually as a result of tenant rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.

‘Contrary to popular myth, most landlords would prefer to keep tenants rather than being left with an empty property,’ it said.

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said the findings of its report Growing up renting proved ‘that today’s volatile rental market is simply not fit for purpose’.

But Mr Jones hit back saying: ‘While we agree that a small minority of landlords ruin the lives of tenants and should be banned from renting property, the reality is that the majority of landlords in the country provide a good service.’

The RLA, which represents nearly 17,000 private sector residential landlords in England and Wales, pointed to government figures in the English Housing Survey which showed the mean social rent went up more than private rents between 2008/09 and 2011/12.

Mean weekly rents in the social rented sector went up from £71 to £83 from 2008/09 to 2011/ 12 – an increase of 16.9 per cent. The comparable figures for the private rented sector were £153 to £164 – an increase of 7.18 per cent.

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