Private landlords are pushing back against allegations that they share responsibility for the dwindling number of childminders in England. The backlash comes in light of government appeals to assist potential childminders who frequently face obstacles preventing them from working from home.
Ben Beadle, CEO at the NRLA, firmly believes private landlords should not bear the responsibility for issues afflicting another sector, commenting, “We refuse to accept the blame for systemic issues in another industry.”
Recent statistics reveal that over the past decade, the number of childminders operating in the country has decreased by more than half. Claire Coutinho, the Minister for Children and Families, addressed landlords, housing associations, and developers, stating: “Too often prospective childminders are having the door slammed in their faces because they face a blanket ban on working from home.”
One significant hurdle cited by the government is the presence of covenants in leasehold properties. These covenants specify that such dwellings cannot be utilized for business activities. Moreover, some individuals living in rented spaces find that their tenancy agreements or their landlords’ mortgage contracts contain clauses that inhibit them from registering their enterprises.
However, Beadle counters this viewpoint. He asserts that landlords are generally supportive of childcare provisions and contends that the onus should be on mortgage lenders and insurers to show flexibility. This would then enable landlords to permit childminders to conduct their businesses from rented properties. Beadle further emphasises the need to adjust tenancy deposits to account for potential property damage resulting from childminding activities.
Concluding, he said, “We will continue to work with the Government on the difficulties and barriers landlords face in enabling tenants to become childminders.”