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ARLA welcomes the Government’s “historic shift in thinking” on the private rented sector towards improved industry standards

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ARLA welcomes the Government’s “historic shift in thinking” on the private rented sector towards improved industry standards - May 2009

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Ian Potter, operations manager of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), says the Government’s response to the Rugg Review into the private rented sector today represents a “historic shift in thinking”..

“ARLA welcomes a response from the Government to the Rugg Review and its commitment to a fair deal for tenants, landlords and professional agents through licensing.

“The Government itself recognises that the rented sector grew by 17% between 2007 and 2008 and continues to grow, so it’s vitally important that the Government is committed to ousting the rogue landlords and agents from the industry.

“This is something we at the Association have long been calling for – increased standards for the consumer. In fact, ARLA launched its own Licensing scheme for letting agents just last week, which has clearly informed the Government’s thinking as all of the points we demanded to be required as a minimum are included in this response.

“However ARLA believes that if consumers use a licensed agent there is no need for a landlord to be licensed too. We feel that this would encourage greater freedom of choice for landlords.

“We must disagree with the Government’s assertions surrounding professional qualifications for agents. It runs contrary to the flavour of the original report to fall down on this particular point. It is a widely held industry view that qualifications are key to the professionalization of the sector and a necessary step in restoring faith to the consumers.”

ARLA also notes that the paper that the Government recognises that the condition of housing stock in the rental sector is in many cases sub-standard, particularly when it comes to energy efficiency.

Ian Potter comments: “We recommended to the Treasury that tax incentives for landlords be included in the Budget for exactly this reason. Our research of landlords shows that if this kind of incentive were to be offered more than six in 10 would use the additional money to upgrade their property portfolio.

“ARLA also called for the introduction of capital allowances for landlords improving housing stock over a certain age as well as an increase the Landlords Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) to include the installation of central heating systems. Yet the opportunity was missed and it’s difficult to see where the money will now come from.

“This document represents a historic shift in attitude towards the private rented sector and ARLA looks forward to working closely with the Government on its proposals to ensure increased standards of professionalism in the lettings industry.”

ARLA is the Lettings and Residential Management Division of the Federation of Property Professionals.

Source ARLA

Proposed database of rental properties is "well meaning but flawed" NLA comment May 2009 HERE

Demand in rental market returns for the first time since recession began - 28 September 2009

The residential rental market is beginning to stabilise with property oversupply decreasing across the UK and the number of new tenancies increasing, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

Results from the latest ARLA survey of its members show that the historical decline in numbers of tenants, which led to a surplus of properties to rent, is coming to an end.

83% of ARLA members signed up 10 or more tenancies during the last quarter, compared to 79% last quarter. Each member signed up an average of 36 new tenancies, compared with 32.6 last quarter.

Almost a third of members (33%) surveyed felt that supply and demand of properties is in balance; this compares with just 19% last quarter. Ian Potter, Operations Manager of ARLA, said: "This shift in the balance of supply and demand is extremely significant for the private rented sector. It gives further evidence to suggest that the property market as a whole is getting back on its feet.

"This shift also indicates that confidence is rising among prospective tenants; it seems that people who delayed setting up home 12 months ago, now feel secure enough to proceed. Equally, those who historically have shared a rental property seem happy to set out independently." In addition, the number of members who believe that there are more residential properties available for rent than there are tenants to fill them dropped significantly in the three month period, from 70% to 43%. The number who say that there are more tenants than properties has risen from 10% to 24%.

The situation is particularly significant in the rest of the South East, where three times as many members said that there are more tenants than properties (27% compared with 9% last quarter).

"This recovery of sorts is still in its infancy and needs as much support as the Government can muster. As we have stated repeatedly, a healthy private rental sector is the only way in which the Government can hope to house future generations. Accordingly, the Government must do all it can to nurture the recovery of the PRS including the implementation of meaningful consumer protection measures," Mr Potter added.

Historically, tenancy rose across all regions of the UK until the recession hit, when properties became harder to let and supply outweighed demand. This trend was felt hardest from late 2008 and into early 2009.

This latest ARLA research also showed that the average void period of a rental home has dropped for the first time in more than a year, indicating that properties are being rented more quickly.

In the winter of 2008 the average length of time for a property to remain empty was 3.8 weeks across the UK, yet by May 2009 this had risen to 4.3 weeks as homes became harder to rent. Now, the figure has dropped to an average 4 weeks (and 3.8 in the South East), giving further indication that the rental property market is picking up.

The data from the third quarter of the ARLA Members' Survey of the Private Rented Sector is drawn from 639 offices. The survey is supported by mortgage lenders Mortgage Express and Paragon Mortgages. Together with the Survey of landlords, this forms part of the quarterly ARLA Review and Index. All surveys and statistics can be downloaded from www.arla.co.uk

Source ARLA

ARLA – Response to FSA Paper on Mortgage Lending - 20 October 2009

In response to the FSA's paper on Mortgage Lending, Ian Potter, operations manager of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), comments

"The FSA appears to recognise the critical role that the buy to let market has to play in supporting the UK's housing needs in the years to come. Lending must be made available to landlords - of all sizes - as the private rental sector bears the burden of an increase in demand for housing and the lack of new stock coming onto market.

"The regulators must also remember the requirements of the end user - the tenants - whose homes are at stake. With a rise in the number of amateur landlords and the much discussed "reluctant landlords", the FSA has to ensure that there is enough lending available for landlords to increase and maintain their stock, but ensure that tenants are not ultimately paying for the mistakes of the finance supply chain.

"In the wider sense, we remain unconvinced of the need to regulate the buy to let sector. What does require more stringent control is risk assessment, which has been highlighted in the report."

Source ARLA

Response to statistics from NLA on rental arrears - 20 October 2009

In response to statistics from NLA on rental arrears Ian Potter, operations manager of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), comments:

“Latest figures from the NLA highlight that nearly three quarters of landlords have experienced rental arrears. Our research shows that 28% of landlords have seen an increase in the number of tenants struggling to meet rental payments – while this is down on the previous quarter (32%), it is still a worrying issue. “Rental arrears is more common during a recession as redundancies occur and tenants’ financial stability changes. With the private rented sector continuing to grow, it is important that those tenants struggling to meet payments are supported.

“For landlords, using an ARLA or NAEA member letting agent is one way to help prevent payment problems, as an approved agent will find suitable tenants, carry out credit checks and draw up the Tenancy Agreement – ultimately protecting both the landlord and tenant. In addition rental protection insurance, of which NLA highlights the benefits, is available through an approved agent.”

Source ARLA

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November 2010

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See also

The Golden Age for The Landlord? Rental Demand Reaches Record High ‘Generation Rent’ must be given Regulatory Protection - October 2010

Housing Minister Grant Shapps promises 'no more red tape' for private landlords - June 2010

ARLA has appointed Sue Hughes-Thomas as president - June 2010

ARLA launches buy-to-let mortgage comparison site - March 2010

Response to FSA Paper on Mortgage Lending - October 2009

Response to statistics from NLA on rental arrear-October 2009

Demand in rental market returns for the first time since recession began - 28 September 2009

Review of ARLA Agreement Magazine on Insurance - August 2009

Property Woman of the Year ARLA sponsors young property woman award at the NLA Property Women Awards 2009 - May 2009

ARLA launches new licensing scheme to protect consumer interests - Consumer interests safeguarded by letting agent licensing - May 2009

ARLA - Research Reveals Britain’s Reluctant Landlords - April 2009

Regulation needed to protect business of residential letting - February 2009

ARLA demands an end to unregulated Letting agents - January 2009

ARLA Welcomes Rugg Review on the Private Rented Sector - 24 October 2008

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