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Extreme Weather, Christmas Songs, and the General Election – but life goes on in the PRS

Life goes on in the Private Rented Sector

As we approach the final month of 2019, we’ve already witnessed the first extreme weather event of the season with devastating floods impacting parts of the Midlands and Yorkshire. The images of stranded cars, residential roads being passable only by boat and water gushing through family homes are all too familiar; but are devastating for everybody effected.

Meanwhile, it seems as though we can’t walk into the local supermarket or department store without Christmas songs blaring out over the in-store speakers. We’re faced with festive promotions for products we probably don’t need and gifts which will undoubtedly be re-wrapped and re-gifted in 12 months’ time!

So, whether it is the recent weather events or the relentless Christmas campaigns; I think we can all agree that 2019 is fast drawing to a close.

Of course - between now and then we have the small matter of a General Election to get through. Indeed, by the time we publish the next issue of Property Market Essentials we could see a new tenant occupying No.10 Downing Street.

This is the third General Election in just over four years; and as with the 2017 poll, Brexit dominates the conversation.

But with a united voice, many of us in the property market feel compelled to repeat our regular calls for politicians to effectively address the issues faced by the private rented sector.

The latest is the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) who have urged the government to “stop meddling” in the private rented sector, claiming “Persistent government meddling in the private rented sector has dampened landlords’ appetites to invest and expand their portfolios, with many consolidating their assets, or leaving the sector altogether.” 

Indeed, there has been a lot of “meddling”.

Since the last election we have had to endure a ban on certain fees being charged to tenants; a reduction in the tax relief a landlord can claim against their profits; and a change to mandatory licensing schemes impacting HMO properties.

It is yet to be ascertained just what the long-term impact will be of so much change will be – but many of us agree that much more needs to be done to encourage continued investment in the PRS, not to discourage it.

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