‘Feeble’ Housing White Paper Fails Private Renters the Most
It appeared as though a glimmer of hope was emerging for the ever fraught private rented sector in the days leading up to the Government’s presentation of the Housing White Paper.
At the very least the government appeared to admit the of trying to get everyone to buy a home was simply not working, and instead, focusing on the fact that 36% of Brits living in private rented accommodation desperately need longer tenancies, more affordable rents and greater action on bad landlords.
However, whilst the rhetoric sounded promising and certainly represents a welcome change in attitude, it soon became clear that that was all it was, words. The reality of the Housing White Paper is that it does little to nothing for private renters.
The most serious problem is the fact that the new and somewhat underwhelming rules introduced to help private renters do not apply to buy to let landlords.
The Housing Minister has confirmed that the longer tenancy proposals in the Housing White Paper will not apply to buy-to-let landlords.— RLA Landlord News (@RLA_News) February 8, 2017
Because buy-to-let mortgages do not contractually allow for landlords to rent out their properties for more than a year, it means that a landlord faces either violating his mortgage contract by offering a longer tenancy or breaking the new rules introduced by the white paper.
Private landlords now own almost one out of five homes in Britain and the buy-to-let boom appears to be growing still. A housing policy that does not encourage buy to let landlords to provide longer term rents is simply ineffective. The government plan is to encourage longer tenancies on new build rental homes delivered by housing associations and institutional investors. That fact is that this policy barely impacts a single renter for years, and even when it does the pipeline for new build to rent homes is just 66,000, comparing this figure the 4.5 million homes currently rented privately, it highlights just how far this policy falls short addressing the issue for most people.