Industry News Sally Walmsley 14/03/2024

NRLA rents warning in Senedd evidence session

The NRLA warned the threat of rent controls – coupled with the introduction of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act – has seen rents in Wales soar. 

Steve Bletsoe, Operations Manager for Wales, told the Local Government and Housing Committee that from having the slowest rising rents in the UK, Wales is now recording the fastest rising as a result of this perfect storm. 

He stressed that the best way to offset these challenges is not to introduce rent controls but to encourage the supply of homes to rent, telling the Senedd: ‘Rents went up over 10% the month the consultation on rent controls happened…it scared a lot of people into either putting their rents up above inflation or exiting the market completely’, adding: ‘If you increase the supply – and I mean good quality supply – the market dictates rents. 

“Governments don’t need to intervene; the market will dictate it.’

Giving evidence as part of the committee’s Private Rented Sector inquiry, Steve stressed the need for the Government to support existing  landlords as well as encouraging new investment something that has fallen dramatically over the last 12 months.

His argument was reinforced by evidence from Richard Rowntree of Paragon Bank who quoted UK Finance data suggesting only 2,000 properties were purchased in Wales with a buy to let mortgage last year, down from 4,000 the year before.

Tax review

Steve also used the session to call for an urgent review of Land Transaction Tax (LTT) to further stimulate growth in the sector.

He told the committee about the decades of under-provision of social housing that have seen more and more households look to the private sector to home, despite the fact PRS landlords are not always equipped to deal with the unique challenges facing social tenants.

He also called for additional support to drive bad landlords from the PRS and ensure consistent enforcement, also referencing ongoing issues with Rent Smart Wales, calling for greater clarity on what its purpose is and what is revenue being used for, as well as welcoming the forthcoming review. 

You can watch the session in full here.

For more information about the NRLA’s campaigns work, visit our Wales Hub here.

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley Magazine and Digital Editor

Sally is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

See all articles by Sally Walmsley