ARLA slams Labours rent pledge

ARLA considers Labour’s proposals for the private rental sector to be ill-thought through and instead reiterates its call for wholesale regulation of the market and a real investment in building new homes.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents has campaigned for years for a regulated lettings market that would ensure professional standards, transparency in fees and a supply of quality homes for all.

It is today concerned to read that the Labour Party, instead of supporting its campaign for a regulated market, chooses to propose measures that would have an adverse impact on people and families struggling with the cost of living.

Ian Potter, managing director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, said: “I am deeply concerned that Labour has today announced a series of ill-thought through proposals which will have an adverse effect on tenants in the private rental sector.

“The proposals show a real lack of understanding of the rental market. Under their pledge, people struggling with the cost of living will be under even greater pressure.

“The challenge we have today is an unregulated market and a worrying lack of supply. By pledging to transfer fees to landlords and by introducing three-year tenancies, which will require a legal presence, rents will increase as landlords and agents seek to achieve returns. Fees are not arbitrary or unnecessary; they represent a business cost that Labour has failed to recognise.

“By bypassing the issue of regulation, Labour risks pushing fees and standards further under the radar, thus undermining ARLA and other campaigning bodies ongoing calls for transparency. Political posturing on an issue that has such a great impact on people’s lives is unfair.

“We have spoken with all parties over the years on regulation and the supply of homes. These are the issues that need to be addressed today. Tactics such as proposals for rent controls may gain traction, but a simple history lesson looking at similar policies from 1919, 1939 and the 1960s will show that they only lead to a significant lack of investment in existing properties and new rentals. Labour’s pledge is short-sighted.”