According to the Office for National Statistics, rents in the private rental sector are up by an average of 1.4% in England, 0.6% in Scotland and 1.2% in Wales since December 2018. Between January 2015 and December 2019, rents have risen by 8.5%. However, the numbers don’t tell us everything. A survey performed by ONS found that landlords are much less likely to increase rents for existing tenants and, if they do, the increases are a smaller percentage. This indicated that landlords are eager to keep reliable, existing tenants rather than experience a period where their property doesn’t provide an income and the other costs associated with finding a new tenant.
Though there has also been an increase in inflation, this doesn’t match the rent increases perfectly, meaning that renting is still lucrative for landlords. Finding a new tenant may offer financial benefits, but it’s necessary to consider the costs involved in advertising, vetting as well as the other associated impacts.
The Opposition Call for Housing Court
MP for Sheffield South East and chair of the HCLG Select Committee, Clive Betts, has called for a housing court that can help landlords with legitimate repossession cases. There is a call for and by the government to implement policy that both protects tenants and supports landlords. The government is looking to abolish no-fault evictions and mandate a certain standard of living for tenants.
However, Clive Betts has warned that, without section 21 evictions, there will need to be an increase in rents to protect landlords and a way for landlords to evict tenants that do not pay their rent.
Things seem to be moving in a positive direction, but finding a balance between protecting tenants and supporting landlords will take time and hard work. This is something we’ll be keeping our eyes on.
Proving Right to Rent
With all the uncertainty that comes with Brexit means that EU citizens in the UK are looking for some reassurance about what will happen after the transition period. Labour MP, Catherine West, received an answer to her question about whether the Home Office plans to provide physical documentation to EU nationals with settled status to ensure they are not victims of discrimination from potential landlords and prospective employers. The Home Office have said that those with settled statements will be able to evidence their entitlements and status online. For the moment, EU citizens can rely on their passports or other identity documents.