Metro - 26 July 2013
The rental market needs to change
By Jo Eccles
With home ownership in steady decline since 2006, according to the Government’s English Housing Survey published this week, there is a lot of talk about the rental market right now.
For renting to be a long-term option, we need to see more institutional landlords who can run their rental portfolios efficiently and abiding to all regulations and standards. With landlords who are individuals, tenants tend to face more uncertainty and aren’t able to view the property as a long-term option. Instead, a landlord can have a change of circumstances which might face the tenant being served notice. For example, the landlord might decide to cash in off the back of rising house prices, which we’re seeing quite a few do at the moment, or even move into the property themselves which would be extremely disruptive for the tenant. Many are also constrained from offering a long-term tenancy to their tenant as a lot of buy-to-let mortgages restrict a tenancy longer than 12 months at a time.
However, a company landlord is completely different in that there is no emotional risk. If you look at areas such as Marylebone and Mayfair, there are large freeholders such as the Portman Estate and the Howard de Waldon Estate, who own huge property portfolios. While they will often hold firm on their rental prices, preferring their properties to be empty rather than achieve reduced rents, as a tenant you can be certain that the property is yours for however long you want it. Another benefit is that their properties tend to be immaculate and they have dedicated maintenance teams so any works are carried out straight away.
In my opinion, we need to see more landlords who are going to commit to the long-term. Or at the very least, it would be good to see rental properties advertised whereby the landlord is upfront about their timescales, and if an individual landlord wants the property back in two years, they must disclose this to the tenant.