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Landlords advocate for stronger tenant financial responsibility amid rental reforms

Recent findings from a survey by Leaders Roman Group (LRG) reveal that landlords are calling for stricter measures to ensure tenant financial accountability, as financial burdens overshadow concerns about the impending Renters (Reform) Bill.

Financial Strains at the Forefront
While the Renters (Reform) Bill aims to overhaul rental practices, landlords are more troubled by existing financial pressures. High mortgage rates, rising operational costs, and increased taxes top their list of concerns. The survey, which included responses from 630 landlords across England, highlights a significant demand for policies that would enforce tenant financial responsibilities more rigorously.

Split Opinions on Section 21
The debate around the retention of Section 21, which allows landlords to end tenancies without a reason after a contract period ends, has divided the landlord community. Approximately 42% of respondents consider this clause crucial for maintaining flexibility in property management. A landlord shared, “Good tenants have nothing to fear by retaining it – the system has been self-regulating for years,” pointing out the necessity of Section 21 for market self-regulation.

Proposed Measures for Tenant Accountability
A substantial 70% of landlords support the idea of linking tenant rental arrears to their credit ratings, suggesting this could enforce financial discipline. “Rent arrears should affect a tenant’s credit rating,” one landlord insisted, highlighting the need for a system that holds tenants accountable for financial obligations. Additionally, 45% of respondents favor the creation of a tenant register to track individuals with histories of arrears or property damage, which could prevent future rental issues.

The survey also shows a strong consensus (61%) for establishing a separate housing court that would expedite legal proceedings for landlord cases. “Having a separate court would speed up the process involved,” a landlord explained, advocating for a more efficient resolution system for property disputes.

Alison Thompson, national lettings managing director at LRG, reflected on the survey’s implications, stating, “With 70% of landlords calling for tenant arrears to impact credit ratings and 61% pushing for streamlined legal proceedings, there’s a clear mandate for reform that addresses landlords’ concerns while fostering a fair housing market.” The survey underscores a crucial turning point for the UK rental sector, emphasising the need for reforms that balance landlord interests with tenant protections.