The Welsh Government is bringing about reform in the private rented housing sector. CLA Cymru’s Policy Advisor, Margaret Street comments on the vital role played by private landlords in supplying the much-needed homes in rural Wales.
“The Welsh Government must provide more support for the private rented sector if it is to continue to play its vital role in providing much-needed homes for the rural community,” says Margaret Street, Policy Advisor for CLA Cymru. The Private Rented Sector typically provides over 10% of the homes available for local people in Wales’ rural counties.
“Residential lettings must be supported to be a viable business model with long-term security for landowners to invest in building, renovating and maintaining properties at appropriate standards for tenants. Government and landowners must work together to tackle the housing crisis and create a lasting solution. Local planning authorities need to be as inclusive in approach towards the private rented sector and developers, as they are to the social housing sector. This is to ensure rural communities have a sustainable future based on accessibility and a healthy choice of suitable homes.
”Despite high demand for homes, prospective landlords can be disinclined to enter the sector. The planning regime is prolonged, demanding and expensive, making it difficult to bring new properties onto the market. There also needs to be recognition of the challenges faced by landlords in meeting energy efficiency standards in rural properties which are often in exposed locations and traditionally-built.
“Where a sound property is lost to the market, questions must be asked why.
“The Welsh Government is making many much-needed changes to the sector,” Margaret Street adds, “Regulation within the private rented sector as a whole is important to drive out poor practice where appropriate, but is often formulated in an urban context.” Margaret Street concludes, “Rural lettings are often provided at sub-market rents. A balanced approach is needed to support the rights and needs of landowners and landlords with those of their tenants. Recognising the challenges to be overcome by landlords is critical to prevent those much-needed homes being lost to the rural rented market.
CLA Cymru spokespersons are available for broadcast interview at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, 22-25 July.
More information: Robert Dangerfield, 01547 317085, 07702 928870