Key issues to ponder
The media hot ‘topics’ of the moment are the shortage of houses and the potential need for regulations to better control private landlords and of course here, we at, Ainsworth Lord Estates, Darwen’s leading Estate Agents, have, of late, been expressing a view or two on these key issues.
An old stager’s view!
Explains ALE founder, Paul Ainsworth Lord, “Aside from our thoughts, my eye was caught this past week by the views of that incorrigible political ‘old stager’ Ken Livingstone, which we’ve spun out here. There’s no ‘for or against’ stance from us on what he says – but, there’s some sound realism here to ponder for sure. Source:- http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/19/cap-private-rent-build-council-housing
“The government’s response to the housing crisis has been to attack exploited tenants, rather than deal with abusive landlords.
Ed Miliband’s decision that the next Labour government will clean up the abuses that mar the private rented sector will be welcomed by hundreds of thousands of tenants whose lives have been made intolerable by the minority of landlords who eagerly exploit the current housing crisis.
Margaret Thatcher’s ban on building council housing has left half a million households to rot on London councils’ waiting lists, while the city’s population has increased by 1.5 million in 25 years.
This has vastly increased the demand for private rented homes, and the average two-bed flat now costs 60% of average take-home pay, making it impossible for most tenants to get a mortgage.
Problem for all
This is not just a problem for the poor. I’ve met many people earning up to £70,000 a year who say they can’t afford to buy.
Letting agencies have been able to exploit this crisis by charging a fee of up to 11% of the rent merely for recommending a desperate tenant to a landlord. This is not a one-off fee: it is imposed while the tenancy lasts.
The housing crisis leaves tenants in a vulnerable position, facing not just high rents and fees, but often crooked landlords who won’t carry out essential repairs or return deposits.
This is the inevitable consequence of past decisions to cut local authorities’ powers to regulate private landlords, and to use the money saved through not building council houses to subsidise private rents through housing benefit.
It doesn’t have to be like this. In France and Germany, half the population live in well-regulated, private rented accommodation, where tenants are secure but landlords still make a reasonable return on their investment.
Germany’s legal code, which regulates the private rented sector, is the model we should follow, but this will not be enough to solve the crisis. We simply have to start building good council homes for rent again.
The biggest factor in Britain’s double-dip recession has been the collapse of the building industry. Every builder and architect is looking for work and a proper house-building programme would create hundreds of thousands of vital jobs.”.