MSE Blog: Five changes I'd make to the rental market

"As a seasoned London renter, I'm used to paying through the nose to rent my flat, with almost 40% of my wages disappearing into my landlord's pocket once a month..."

Read MSE Rebecca's full blog: Five changes I'd make to the rental market

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  • Pixie5740Pixie5740 Forumite
    14.5K Posts
    10,000 Posts Eighth Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic
    1) The end of Right to Buy.

    2) The abolition of the Sword of Damocles.

    3) Abolition of letting agency fees in the rest of the UK since Scotland already has this.

    4) Tougher penalties for landlords flouting the laws and actually the landlords who do let without consent, don't protect deposits, don't carry out necessary repairs, don't have gas safety certificates (if there's gas appliances in the property of course) made an example of.

    5) Landlord registration. We have that in Scotland already but it's a bit of a toothless sheep at the moment so it would need to be an improvement on that.

    Too many landlords seem to think they have a say in how their tenants live their lives. Do something the landlord doesn't like and that's it Section 21. One poster the other day was miffed that a tenant hadn't replied to an email she sent, even though a reply wasn't really required and admitted she's be happy to cut her nose off to spite her face and take steps to evict the tenant.

    I wasn't sure about the bloggers timescales though. If a landlord gets a boiler repaired in more or less the same time as an owner occupier then that would be good enough for me.

    All these rights for tenants do come with responsibilities though. You can't have one without the other. Perhaps there could be some way of landlords evicting persistently late or non paying tenants quicker? I'm not sure how it would work without being open to abuse though.
  • edited 14 July 2015 at 12:14PM
    thesaintthesaint Forumite
    4.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    edited 14 July 2015 at 12:14PM
    Pixie5740 wrote: »

    2) The abolition of the Sword of Damocles.

    This is already on the books for October?

    From MSE Rebecca's blog:
    5) 24-hour ‘fixing’ agreements.
    Letting agents and landlords should have a minimum time frame for fixing things in your property. Say, your boiler breaks or the pipes burst. It should arrange for the problem to be sorted within 24 hours or face a penalty charge, which would go towards your rent.

    This is completely unworkable. Typical renters atttitude.
    Also, it should be "maximum", not "minimum".
    Well life is harsh, hug me don't reject me.
  • jjlandlordjjlandlord
    5.1K Posts
    I want free stuff and more money, and a ban on bad weather.
  • theartfullodgertheartfullodger Forumite
    13K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    1. Competent, polite, calm, informed, trained & honest landlords:
    2. Competent, polite, calm, informed, trained & honest agents:
    3. Competent, polite, calm, informed, trained & honest tenants:
    4. More, cheaper, houses & flats built (come on government!) so there;s more to rent.
    5. The royal family - especially the hangers on - to start paying market rents..
  • edited 14 July 2015 at 12:36PM
    HappyMJHappyMJ Forumite
    21.1K Posts
    edited 14 July 2015 at 12:36PM
    MSE_Helen wrote: »
    What changes do you want to see?

    I’m not asking for unachievable things to happen
    1 - Rent controls at 25% is unworkable. 40% of gross salary is the current guideline to rent a property and if you wanted to make that a condition to take out a tenancy then I'd support 40% of gross salary to go on rent to be eligible for a particular property. However, in London an employee on minimum wages £6.50 an hour working a 40 hour week could therefore only afford £450 a month. I don't think anything exists at that price in London so it would force single workers into unregulated house shares. Anyway, how would that work for me. I'm self employed and show a minimal profit. I wouldn't be able to rent.

    2 - A cap on admin fees - I'll agree with that. Can't avoid and can't negotiate...unless you don't want to take the property. I'd create a standard tenancy for everyone with the exact same terms and conditions for all.

    3 - No opinion on that one...

    4 - Minimum term contracts. I don't see the problem with making the minimum term 12 months but 3 years is far too long. As a tenant I wouldn't want to be forced to commit to a term of 3 years. I even detest mobile contracts of 12 months and prefer a pay by the month mobile plan. If the minimum term was set to 3 years there would have to be some way to terminate the contract part way through with minimal penalty. I can only see misery. 6 months is very flexible. There's no need to move out at the expiry of the fixed term.

    5 - 24 hour "fixing" agreements. I can't get my boiler fixed within 24 hours so I can't see that working for my tenants and I don't expect that of any landlord. A next business day response for problems reported during business hours for a professional to "look" at the problem and write a quote for it's repair would be acceptable. Then maybe no more than 7 days for the landlord to take action to repair the problem.
    :p Regular savers earn 6% interest (HSBC, First Direct, M&S) :p Loans cost 2.9% per year (Nationwide) = FREE money. :p
  • martinsurreymartinsurrey Forumite
    3.4K Posts
    you missed one important change.

    1) Build more houses. Is it any wonder rent is cheaper in Germany, they are forecasting 270,000 new houses this year, double the UK number. Paper over the cracks all we want, limited supply and rising demand means high prices and/or lower quality.
  • AdrianCAdrianC Forumite
    42.2K Posts
    Eighth Anniversary 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Introducing harsh caps on rent in a city with very low rental yields? Well, yes, that's a great way to massively reduce the private rented sector's size...

    Sorry, but that reads to me as a clueless "Wah! Unfair! I can't afford to live in nice place! Somebody else's fault!"
  • jjlandlordjjlandlord
    5.1K Posts
    AdrianC wrote: »
    Sorry, but that reads to me as a clueless "Wah! Unfair! I can't afford to live in nice place! Somebody else's fault!"

    The 'proposal' is not even rent controls, it's setting the rent according to what the tenant can pay.

    A bit like if I pop in a Porsche dealership and tell them that since I am on minimum wage they must sell me that 80k model for 2k, because that's all I can afford.

    The gem is the last paragraph, though:
    I’m not asking for unachievable things to happen, just five simple changes to make the property market a fairer and more just place for renters.

    Has someone clicked 'publish' on the article planned for the 1st April?
  • Innys1Innys1 Forumite
    3.4K Posts
    Whoever MSE Rebecca is, she's not an economist.

    Plus, with regard to her change #5, she doesn't seem to live in the real world either.
  • gaztergazter Forumite
    931 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Pixie5740 wrote: »
    1) The end of Right to Buy.


    People who own houses really dont like others doing the same, do they?
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