ARLA & NAEA response to Housing & Planning Bill 2015-2016
Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), and David Cox, managing director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) comment on the introduction of the Government’s Housing and Planning Bill 2015 – 2016: Both NAEA and ARLA welcome the introduction of the Housing and Planning Bill in Parliament. Of course, many of the measures contained within the Bill come as no surprise as we have known about a number of the measures for some time now. It is testament to the importance of housing in the current national political debate, that the plans have been central components of speeches made by Government since they were first announced in the Queen’s Speech in May 2015.
Mark Hayward, managing director, NAEA comments: “The introduction of the Housing and Planning Bill today is a small, but important move that is needed to try and bring our housing market out of crisis. The introduction of 200,000 new ‘affordable’ Starter Homes is a step in the right direction for FTBs, but still falls short of the amount of house building required to help buyers across the UK. Although the starter homes will offer a discount of 20% on market prices, this is still far from affordable in a market where house prices continue to shoot up on a daily basis – meaning that the majority of buyers wishing to take their first steps on the ladder will continue to feel pushed out.
“The Bill also includes the well-publicised extension of the Right to Buy to Housing Associations. We were pleased with the announcement made by the Communities Secretary, Greg Clark, earlier this week, who has said that the 1.3 million housing association homes made available for purchase under this scheme, will be replaced on a one-for-one basis, thus actually increasing supply in the housing market. However it is important that these replacement homes are built within the same local authority boundaries in urban areas where the original home was sold. The Government cannot look at conurbations, such as London, as whole entities and must ensure that housing stock is retained and grown evenly across city regions.”
David Cox, managing director, ARLA, comments: “ARLA is pleased that the Bill contains important measures to target rogue landlords, most of which are sensible and appropriate. ARLA has been calling for greater regulation of the Private Rented Sector for some time and is pleased that the Government has brought these measures forward to make the industry more rigorous and accountable.
“We are particularly delighted that the Bill will make it easier for a banning order to be imposed on letting agents that fail to adhere to industry standards, to ensure that tenants are protected from unscrupulous individuals. However, we are concerned that the introduction of a database of rogue landlords and letting agents will unfairly tarnish the industry as one in need of large scale reform. We urge the Government to ensure that this measure is applied appropriately so that entry to this database is based on well-defined criteria which does not vilify compliant and law abiding agents.”