election2015On the eve of the closest General Election in many years those of us working in Residential Lettings are looking on with interest as the result could impact our industry considerably.

There is no doubt that the Private Rental Sector is robust and here to stay but depending on who is the latest tenant in 10 Downing Street there could be significant changes on the way for letting agents, tenants and landlords.

After the General Election will the rental market change forever?

Over the past 20 years I have seen the public’s attitude to renting change completely and it has now become socially acceptable to be a tenant and is in some cases the only option available.

There has also been a huge change in the way people view letting out their property and with the explosion of the ‘buy-to-let’ market more and more people are investing in properties to let out.

Michael Clarke_MARLAThese changes in my opinion are for the better and are here to stay with both landlords and tenants benefitting from the current state of affairs. Tenants now have a choice of much better quality properties than ever before with professional landlords taking their responsibilities extremely seriously and providing excellent quality homes for rent. Landlords also benefit from a great choice of excellent quality tenants.

If however Labour are elected and introduce their policies we could see a significant change. Firstly Labour want to abolish tenant’s fees completely. These are the fees currently charged by agents for referencing the tenants, registering their security deposit and the associated paperwork required for an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. If these fees are abolished then agents will simply pass the cost onto the landlord who in turn will increase the rent so that indirectly the tenant still pays.

Secondly Labour want to cap rental increases at the rate of inflation. This could well deter new landlords from investing in properties which would reduce the available stock for tenants to choose from.

If Labour do get elected they also want to introduce three-year tenancy agreements as standard. Now in my experience it is impossible for landlords and tenants to know if their circumstances will change and being tied into a three-year contract is far too inflexible.

The proposed policy changes are supposed to benefit tenants but in reality it will be the tenants that pay the price and with little alternatives for many that cannot be good news.

As people go to the polls we will see what happens, whoever does hold government after the election we will still be here to offer sound advice and excellent service.

Michael Clarke, MARLA, Lettings Director

01252 514000  lettings@Mackenziesmith.co.uk