Tenants’ biggest election issue? Well, it’s not housing…

One might have thought that if private rental tenants were as badly treated as some people suggest, housing would be their number one priority in the General Election – but it’s most certainly not.

Brexit—and not housing—is the number one issue for Britain’s tenants according to a new survey by the National Landlords Association.

Earlier this month, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, launched his general election campaign with a scathing attack on “dodgy landlords”. Over recent years the Conservatives have made a series of regulation and tax changes to “level the playing field” against landlords and in favour of owner occupiers.

But in a survey of tenants, the NLA found that Brexit, climate change and the environment, and education were the top three issues for tenants as they prepare to cast their vote in next month’s poll.

Housing was ranked fourth in their list of concerns, followed by immigration, the NHS, police and crime, tax, transport and the welfare system.

The findings show that, contrary to popular belief, most tenants enjoy a very positive relationship with their landlords.

When asked how confident they were in their current landlord or agent’s professionalism, nearly a quarter answered “very confident”, with 69 per cent marking them 7 or above, on a scale of 1 to 10.

Only three per cent said they were “not confident” in their landlord or agent’s professionalism.

This data was corroborated by other findings.

More than 80 per cent of tenants said that they had a positive view of their current landlord. Some 68 per cent admitted that they had “never had cause to complain”. A further 16 per cent noted that while they had registered a complaint, the landlord or agent subsequently “resolved the situation to my satisfaction”.

The NLA says this perhaps reflects the fact that landlords have resisted the temptation to raise rents over the past year: nearly three-quarters of tenants reported that their rents had “stayed the same” while some even revealed that their rent had actually fallen over the past 12 months.

Furthermore, 86 per cent of tenants had never been served with either a Section 21 or Section 8 over the past five years.

“The private rented sector is not the big political issue that some tenants’ groups claim it to be. The idea that tenants and landlords are constantly engaged in some kind of bitter dispute is just another example of fake news. When tenants go to the ballot box to cast their vote next month, housing won’t be top of their agenda” explains Richard Lambert, NLA chief executive.

“That’s because, as the survey we commissioned reveals, the majority of tenants are perfectly happy with their rental property and perfectly happy with their landlord.”

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