Barwell vows “bigger, better PRS” at ARLA conference

ARLA Propertymark (Association of Residential Letting Agents) yesterday held its annual ARLA Propertymark Conference at ExCel London. The UK’s largest lettings conference and exhibition welcomed ITV Political Editor Robert Peston and Lord William Hague as keynote speakers and journalist and presenter Julian Worricker as conference moderator.

A lively roundtable debate on the subject of supply, demand, taxation changes and Brexit in a post letting agent fees world took place, involving ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive David Cox, Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, Editor of Financial Times Money Claer Barrett, DCLG’s Jane Everton and Jezzard’s Director Ross Jezzard.

There was also a courtroom style hearing on the recent changes to Right to Rent checks followed by a question and answer session involving ARLA Propertymark Policy and Campaigns Officer Tim Douglas, Gareth Fowler of Keysafe Tenant Vetting, Robert Bolwell of Dutton Gregory Solicitors and David Smith of Anthony Gold Solicitors.

Housing and Planning Minister, Gavin Barwell said: “This Government is determined to create a bigger, better private rented sector that meets the needs of tenants and landlords alike.

“That’s why our Housing White Paper sets out how we’ll build more homes for rent and make renting more affordable for ordinary working families.

“Organisations like ARLA Propertymark provide a valuable service to landlords and tenants. They help make sure properties in the private rented sector are safe, compliant with the law and professionally managed.”

ARLA Propertymark’s Chief Executive David Cox launched research into the economic implications of the letting agent fee ban. Key findings included the letting fee ban will hit loyal tenants the hardest as those in tenancies for 10 years or more will lose out by £755, as probable rent rises impact the entire length of the tenancy. The findings also suggested that if letting agents take the full hit of the ban, 16,000 jobs will be at risk – however, it’s more likely agents will pass on 75 per cent of the cuts to landlords, which would result in 4,000 job losses.

Nik Madan, President, ARLA Propertymark comments: “An unprecedented amount of legislation has been introduced in the private rented sector over the past year, including the unexpected announcement from the Government to ban letting agent fees in last November’s Autumn Statement. Yesterday’s ARLA Propertymark Conference brought over 1000 lettings professionals up to date with important industry issues at a critical time when the sector continues to change and transform.”