Propertymark Members in Wales Oppose Rent Controls Amid Housing Concerns

Propertymark, a UK professional body for property agents, opposes potential rent controls in Wales, citing concerns about reduced housing supply. The Welsh Government is considering rent controls to address rising rental prices, which increased 7% in the 12 months leading up to January 2024.

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Nitish Verma
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Propertymark Members in Wales Oppose Rent Controls Amid Housing Concerns

Propertymark Members in Wales Oppose Rent Controls Amid Housing Concerns

Propertymark, the leading professional body for property agents in the UK, has voiced concerns about the impact of potential rent controls in Wales. The organization's members in Wales are opposing such measures, arguing that they could reduce housing supply and exacerbate existing challenges in the rental market.

Why this matters: The debate over rent controls has significant implications for the broader housing market, as it could influence the availability and affordability of rental properties for tenants. Moreover, the outcome of this discussion may set a precedent for future housing policies in Wales and beyond.

The opposition comes in response to the Welsh Government's recent publication of a summary of responses to its Green Paper Call for Evidence on Securing a Path towards Adequate Housing. The consultation sought input on various housing issues, including the possibility of implementing rent controls to address rising rental prices.

According to the Office for National Statistics, annual private rental prices in Wales increased by 7% in the 12 months leading up to January 2024. This significant rise has raised concerns among tenants and housing advocates, prompting calls for government intervention.

However, Propertymark members argue that rent controls could have unintended consequences. One private landlord, speaking anonymously to Propertymark, stated, "Government support that would be most welcome for us would be tax support or the relaxation of existing thresholds. More importantly for me, I would be pleased to see any government be more aware of the positive work we do as landlords and be more considerate and positive towards the industry." Another landlord expressed frustration, saying, "Landlords are on the frontline politically, and it is tiring for landlords to be used as the reason why rents are increasing when that is simply not true." These sentiments reflect a growing concern among property owners that rent controls may unfairly target them without addressing the underlying causes of the housing crisis.

Propertymark's 2022 report revealed that 53% of buy-to-let properties sold in March 2022 left the private rented sector, indicating a significant reduction in available rental units. The organization also noted a 49% depletion in properties available to rent per member branch in March 2022 compared to March 2019, further highlighting the supply challenges.

In addition to supply concerns, landlords are grappling with rising costs. One landlord reported a 33% increase in service charges across their portfolio in just one year. Furthermore, 68% of agents surveyed by Propertymark said they had experienced expensive alterations to rental properties beyond usual maintenance costs.

The UK Government's recent Spring Budget reduced Capital Gains Tax from 28% to 24%, a move that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said would increase the number of transactions. Propertymark has previously advocated for such a reduction, arguing that it could incentivize landlords to remain in the market.

As the Welsh Government considers its next steps in addressing the housing crisis, Propertymark members in Wales remain steadfast in their opposition to rent controls. They argue that such measures could further reduce the supply of rental properties and place additional burdens on landlords already facing increased costs and regulatory pressures. The organization continues to advocate for alternative solutions, such as tax incentives and a more supportive stance towards the private rented sector, to ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing for tenants across Wales.

Key Takeaways

  • Propertymark opposes rent controls in Wales, citing reduced housing supply and exacerbated challenges.
  • Welsh Government's Green Paper proposes rent controls to address 7% annual private rental price increase.
  • Landlords argue rent controls unfairly target them, ignoring underlying causes of the housing crisis.
  • Propertymark reports 53% of buy-to-let properties sold in 2022 left the private rented sector.
  • Alternative solutions proposed include tax incentives and a more supportive stance towards landlords.