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Shadow Minister blasts Welsh Government for soaring private rental costs

14 Nov 2022 4 minute read
Janet Finch Saunders speaking in the Senedd

Shadow Minister for Housing, Janet Finch-Saunders MS has accused the Welsh Government of creating a housing shortage in Wales which has resulted in rental costs rising faster than anywhere in the UK outside of London.

According to the property website Rightmove, the average rent for a Cardiff property between July and September this year rose almost 20% from £870 to £1,041 from the same quarter last year.

Across Wales, Rightmove is reporting the average cost of a rental property is £974 – up 15% from 2021.

Average rents in London rose by 16.1% in the same period, while the UK-wide average increased by 11%.

Higher interest rates, soaring inflation, and landlords withdrawing from the market due to new legislation to give more protection to tenants are believed to be among the factors feeding into increased demand and higher prices.

Devastating

“Once again, we are seeing the devastating impact of a quarter of a century of Labour run Wales’” Mrs Finch-Saunders, the MS for Aberconwy said.

“Let’s not forget that this is a housing crisis of Labour’s own making with fewer than 6,000 houses being completed per year before the pandemic, less than half the number required.

“Rather than focus on issues that matter to hard working people, Labour ministers have wasted time and effort on vanity projects and the relentless scapegoating of landlords. This must end.

“Labour need to act fast and get a grip on their housing crisis in Wales, ensuring there is sufficient housing stock for families across Wales and end their relentless attacks on landlords and second homeowners.”

Property agents

Last week, the organisation which represents property agents across the UK criticised the Welsh Government’s new Renting Homes (Wales) Act which is due to come into force next month.

The legislation aims to improve security of tenure for renters by, amongst other things, increasing the period of notice that a landlord must give when seeking repossession of their property in instances where the renter is not at fault.

Described as the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades, the act abolishes many of the old forms of tenancy replacing these with statutorily regulated occupation contracts.

Tim Thomas, Policy and Campaigns Officer for the organisation Propertymark, said the Welsh Government fails to understand the knock-on effect “strengthening of tenants’ rights will have on the confidence of landlords”.

“The private landlords our member agents represent have become important housing providers, but they need to know they can regain possession of their property when they need to do so,” he added.

“The best way to support tenants is to focus on policies that can increase the supply of housing rather those that will constrain it.”

Consultation

In September the government launched a consultation on proposals to apply a six-month no-fault notice period to existing tenancies that convert to occupation contracts under the Act, to take effect from 1 June 2023 (the six-month notice period already applies to new contracts starting from next month).

Over 90% of the completed responses received to the consultation were from private landlords and lettings agents, the vast majority of whom were against extending the six-month notice periods to existing tenancies, and of those that were in agreement most favoured applying the change at a later date.

All tenants and tenant representative bodies that responded to the consultation were in favour of the proposed extension, with most also arguing it should be applied from 1 December rather than 1 June 2023.

Julie James, the Minister for Climate Change, who also has responsibility for housing, said: “Whilst noting the views of those landlords and agents that responded, I have decided that the societal and individual benefits accruing from the extension outweigh the negative impact on individual landlords, particularly in view of shorter notice periods of one month or less applying where there is a breach of contract.”


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
22 days ago

The Welsh Tories make absolutely no sense at all… Its like they don’t know how housing works in Cymru and that they don’t know that it was Tory legislation that caused the social and private housing crisis that we are in as well as not at all having any concept of history or context…. I know people who smoke an eighth a day who don’t appear as befuddled and deranged as Welsh Tories….

hdavies15
hdavies15
22 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

Not just the Welsh Tories making no sense, CJ, this article is light on sensible information too. It says – “Average rental for a Cardiff property between July and September this year rose almost 20% from £870 to £1,041 from the same quarter last year.” Is that across the same mix of HMO’s, apartments, 1-4 bed family houses or is it any old mix that happened to change hands in that period? It makes no reference to the effect of escalating mortgage costs. These are used as a smokescreen by many landlords who have minimal borrowings compared to the value… Read more »

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
22 days ago

So we need at least 12,000 new homes built per year, 120,000 over 10 years, when the natural population is falling? How does that work? Homes for who?

The problem seems to be that far far too many private open market homes are being built, and not enough ‘closed market’ or ‘social housing’ or ‘affordable housing’.

The LDPs are inherently flawed. Only a complete property act can sort out this mess. This and councils with a bit of vision and backbone.

Maglocunos
Maglocunos
22 days ago

Did she declare her interest?

It might be an easier idea to turf some of the buy-to-let owning investors out and bring their stock of housing back into the affordable social housing market.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
22 days ago
Reply to  Maglocunos

Yes, this and buy property off the open market.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
22 days ago

In Tory England in 2020 some 29,000 social homes were sold or demolished and fewer than 7,000 were built. In 2020 there were 1.4M fewer social homes in England than there were in 1980 pushing millions of families into private rentals.

Is it “physician heal thyself” or is it “bog off you hypocrite”?

Jim
Jim
22 days ago

I guess Mrs Finch-Saunders is also unhappy about the additional capital gains she and her landlord chums have made due to the housing shortage? I thought not.

The Tory Government (and ‘New Labour’) has had every reason to stall and frustrate house building since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 in order to recapitalise the banks, (rescue the banks from collapse) please their voters and keep foreign property investors very happy. Has this tardiness and foot dragging been deliberate policy?

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
22 days ago

JFS had better settle in for a long haul because in another 25 years, she will still be looking at a Wales which does not want Tories. She also needs to apportion blame where it belongs. A financial asphyxiation system for the masses. A disease spread by her greed driven party at UK level and one she has benefited from hugely.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
22 days ago

So French and Saunders is putting up her rents, so that she can fleece more off her poor tentants, and this is somehow Y Senedd’s fault?

Windy
Windy
22 days ago

Perhaps developer/builders were made to build the social housing quota of any development (and make sure that they are not purchased by buy to rent landlords) first and the rest of the development would be on a pro-rata system which would make sure that the correct ratio of any development would be social housing and not give developers any excuse not to build the social housing part of any development

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
22 days ago

I have news for this lady, English rent rises. especially in Cities . are far greater than in Wales! My two sons,ex Liverpool Uni who stayed there are paying huge amounts for two bed accommodation!

The original mark
The original mark
22 days ago

If I was writing this article, I would do my own comparisons and speak to a few letting agents, and not take the often fantasy prices from sites like right move and zoopla for granted. My son is paying 1700 quid per month for a 2 bed flat in that london.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
22 days ago

In some areas of Wales, the number of second homes exceeds the number of people on the waiting list!

I would suggest she looks closer to her own party at who is responsible for Wales’ housing shortage!

Not only that, she alao supports the bulk buying of housing in Welsh communities by prospective second home owners and buy to rent landlords from across the border, as shw has repeatedly railed at any attempts to impose premiums on them.

So, to complain about a housing shortage now is rather contradictory isn’t it!

Blinedig
Blinedig
20 days ago
Reply to  SundanceKid

Interesting to read today that Tory N Yorkshire is considering similar moves towards raising a premium on second homes.

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