Estate Agents Call for Buy to Let Reform

Estate agents have called for reform in the buy to let sector, claiming that it is ‘inefficient’ and ‘lacks transparency.’

New research conducted by Goodlord with 130 estate agents found that just 42 per cent of agents feel that the current process of investing in buy to let property is understood by tenants. Furthermore, a slight minority at 49 per cent find that the way lettings are found and secured is efficient.

Of the estate agents surveyed, it was found that many backed certain reforms in the sector, including the ending of landlords’ right to evict tenants without offering a reason. A ban on agents charging administrative fees to tenants for moving into a property or renewing a tenancy was also supported, as was a cap on deposit size.

A regional divide in estate agents’ opinions on the rental process was also noted, with those in London and the South East the least likely to regard the process as efficient or fair. 64 per cent of London agents think the rental process is fair to tenants, a figure far below the 83 per cent average country wide.

Chief executive and co-founder of Goodlord, Richard White, said: ‘Tenants across the country pay out vast sums of money each month for accommodation and service levels that are substandard, sometimes even dangerous. We know that they urgently want to see reform but it may surprise many that estate agents also want to see reform of the sector they work in. Agents think rental reform is not only  the right thing to do but also makes good business since it will help good landlords, that provide a much needed product, prosper and force the cowboys out of the sector. The Government has promised reforms, but now it is time to deliver them. Tenants will not tolerate being treated like second class citizens for any longer.’

The Goodlord research also interviewed 1,000 tenants on possible reforms to the rental sector. A widespread lack of trust in investors was recorded, with just a third of tenants expecting their landlords to fix things in good time and keep rent rises to a minimum. 22 per cent of tenants have ‘not much trust’ or ‘no trust at all’ that their landlord will not evict them without reason.

However, the distrust appears most prevalent amongst the young population, with just 14 per cent of those aged 45 and over claiming to lack trust in their landlords. In contrast, 29 per cent of under 25s feel this way.

Once again, a regional divide was noted, with Londoners trusting their landlords the least. 45 per cent of tenants in the capital anticipate that they will not be repaid their full deposit, a sharp contrast to the national average of 29 per cent.

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