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Belvoir warns of consequences if Labour win power

Franchisees across the Belvoir network are being urged to write to their landlords and tenants wa...

Franchisees across the Belvoir network are being urged to write to their landlords and tenants warning them of the consequences of Labour gaining power and implementing proposals for rent capping and outlawing agents’ fees.

Dorian Gonsalves, director of commercial and franchising for Belvoir, said that Labour’s proposals were “flawed” and likely to result in landlords quitting the private rental sector en masse, making thousands of tenants homeless.

He said: “The Labour party is blatantly targeting the private rented sector to try and win votes from the UK’s nine million tenants.

“However, in my opinion their proposals are not only anti-letting agents, they are also anti-business and will in fact harm tenants – the very people that Labour say they want to help.

“The most recent figures released by the Office of National Statistics estimate that for the year ending September 2014, net long-term migration to the UK was 298,000 and yet the number of new homes built last year was only 118,760.

“A combination of high migration figures, low new-builds, plus the difficulties that people face in obtaining mortgages and changes in lifestyle choices, such as increasing numbers of single parent families, means that many more rental homes are needed in this country.”

He went on: “The majority of letting agents work extremely hard on behalf of tenants as well as landlords and it is completely appropriate that tenants bear the cost of this work rather than landlords.

“Outlawing tenant fees will simply mean that tenants will suffer, with letting agents unable to provide them with the standards of service and levels of protection they deserve.

“Tenants could easily become vulnerable to rogue private landlords who may try to take advantage of them by illegally charging for maintenance issues, failing to carry out regular property checks and leaving them without redress to an ombudsman.

“If landlords are forced to bear the brunt of increasing costs, but are unable to increase rents to help cover them, many are likely to sell up or put their property to different use, further reducing the level of good-quality rental properties in this country. As a result, thousands of tenants could become homeless, because there will be nowhere for them to go.

“I firmly believe that Belvoir is in a strong position to cope with the effects of any proposed changes to legislation.

“However, I also believe that these changes could result in the industry contracting as landlords exit the market and independent agents find it difficult to survive.

“I am encouraging all Belvoir franchise owners to write to their tenant and landlord clients to make it very clear to them that if Labour get into power they will implement proposals that will result in increased landlord fees.

“This will either force landlords to increase rents to help cover their costs or cause them to sell up, which could put thousands of tenants at risk of losing their homes.”

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