NRLA Wales hustings highlights
On Thursday, NRLA Wales held its hustings ahead of the Senedd election in May. NRLA Chief Executive, Ben Beadle hosted Labour’s Mike Hedges MS, the Conservatives’ Mark Isherwood MS, Plaid Cymru’s Cllr Cefin Campbell, and the Liberal Democrats’ Cllr Rodney Berman on the panel.
Issues of discussion included topics from coronavirus restrictions and rent controls to energy efficiency and Rent Smart Wales.
Notable points during the evening included Mike Hedges saying his party’s coronavirus restrictions such as the possession ban will have to be reviewed soon to deal with mounting problems in the private rented sector. He also shared his agreement the NRLA’s desire to tackle empty homes.
Cefin Campbell opening remarks included Plaid Cymru’s commitment to introduce a Fair Rents Bill which would include an end to “no-reason-given” possession and the introduction of rent controls.
Mark Isherwood said he wants the prejudice against private landlords to end and praised those who helped tenants during the pandemic, while Rodney Berman stated he wants the PRS to be a part of post-Covid recovery. Both agreed with the need to improve housing justice.
There was general agreement with the need to improve energy efficiency throughout all housing tenures, the desire for better scrutiny of Rent Smart Wales, and for better data collection through methods such as the NRLA’s proposed Welsh Housing Survey.
Also in Wales this week: Building Safety Consultation
Earlier this year, the Welsh Government released a consultation on its new proposed building safety regime, which closes on 12 April.
The white paper, drafted in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire, “represent a significant step forward in our plans to improve building safety”, the Minister said in a written statement. She continued: “The scope of the regime is extensive. This is because we want to ensure that safety is the primary consideration at all stages of a building’s lifecycle and that all multi-occupied buildings are covered by the new measures our regime proposes to put in place. The safety measures we propose to introduce are wide-ranging, but they are also proportionate, and, we believe, appropriately tailored to the different building categories that will fall in scope.”
In its response, the NRLA stated the need for a streamlined approach to this incredibly complex area of legislation, to ensure that requirements on homes of multiple occupation were limited, for landlords to have assistance in accessing qualified professionals to carry out safety inspections, and for tenants to be held to account when they have failed in their obligations.