Landlords call for measures to enforce tenant financial responsibility


A survey by Leaders Roman Group (LRG) to gauge attitudes on the Renters (Reform) Bill has revealed that landlords are less worried about the legislation itself and more concerned with financial pressures such as high mortgage rates, the cost of bureaucracy and regulations, increased taxes, the cost of overheads such as service charges and maintenance costs, and VAT on contractors’ fees. 

LRG, which encompasses several brands including Acorn, Gibbs Gillespie, Leaders and Romans, conducted the survey among 630 landlords in England to gather their perspectives on the proposed reforms, as well as potential amendments that could benefit the sector.

The survey found landlords’ concerns are mostly financial. In response, they are calling for measures to enforce tenant financial responsibility.

The debate over Section 21 reveals a divided sentiment, with 42% of landlords emphasising its importance for maintaining management flexibility. This provision is often seen as essential for the market’s self-regulation. “Good tenants have nothing to fear by retaining it – the system has been self-regulating for years,” remarked a landlord.

Landlords were keen to stress that the minority of rogue landlords had resulted in a bad press and that good landlords had nothing to fear from the proposed changes. 

One landlord commented, “Good landlords are rarely mentioned in the press, so better oversight and regulation may increase an understanding of the reality of being a landlord, especially the better ones. Equally poor tenants need to be recognised as the real issue; they are in much the same way we are aware of poor landlords.” 

Another said, “I believe the Bill is generally designed to target ‘bad’ landlords, and therefore, I do not believe it will have a great impact on myself.” Another said: “I think that it encourages tenants and landlords to be responsible, and it is a good thing.”

The findings of the survey show a significant number of landlords (70%) advocate for linking tenant arrears to credit ratings as a measure to enforce financial responsibility among tenants. 

One landlord stated: “Rent arrears should affect a tenant’s credit rating,” emphasising the need for mechanisms to ensure tenants meet their financial obligations. Another added: “Credit checks to protect landlords, bad tenants need to be identified.”

Moreover, 45% of landlords support the creation of a tenant register to identify those with histories of arrears or property damage. “Having had one bad tenant, I think it would be good to have a register so future landlords could be aware of previous issues,” said one landlord, while another said that “the current system is too slow and not fit for purpose”.

The survey also highlighted broad support (61%) for a separate housing court to fast-track landlord cases, reflecting a desire for more efficient legal processes. “Having a separate court would speed up the process involved,” one landlord suggested, advocating for a dedicated framework to handle property disputes more effectively.

Alison Thompson, national lettings managing director at LRG, emphasised the importance of these insights. She commented: “With 70% of landlords calling for tenant arrears to impact credit ratings and 61% pushing for streamlined legal proceedings, there’s a clear mandate for reform that addresses landlords’ concerns while fostering a fair housing market.”

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