Commenting on all three political parties’ manifesto plans for the private rented sector, Isobel Thomson, Chief Executive of NALS, said:
“NALS welcomes all parties’ focus on greater protections and security for tenants. However, these must not come at the cost of sacrificing a strong and functioning private rented sector.
“While all three manifestos pledge longer tenancies, within promises to make renting better and fairer, we are yet to see the genuine evidence of demand from tenants for these tenancies.
“Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives all specifically pledge to ban letting agent fees. While this not a surprise, we have warned that the fee ban will lead to a number of unintended negative consequences for the consumer – driving fees underground, a reduction in service to tenants and the lowering of standards in the sector.
“We believe that manifesto promises on banning fees are a missed opportunity to really get to the root causes of problems in the PRS. If the political parties truly want to tackle the issue of excessive fees, they must look to the bigger picture, stop the current piecemeal attempts at improving the PRS and regulate all lettings and management agents.
“While the Conservatives promise to improve protections for those who rent they also pledge to go further with market reform, and to strengthen the hand of regulators and enforcement. We hope this means wholesale regulation of the PRS.
“It’s clear that all parties want to improve the sector, but none has provided detail on how the sector will be effectively policed. Only by driving out rogues and criminals with proper regulation and enforcement that has teeth, will consumers be able to have confidence and security when they rent a home. We urge whichever party that takes the reins on 9 June to make this a priority.”