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Andrew McCausland’s answer to Michael Gove


Writing in the National Residential Landlords Association members’ magazine, Housing Secretary Michael Gove has praised independent landlords for their “vital” role in the private rented sector. He notes that landlords offer tenants more options, flexibility and value for money and outlines the Government’s plans to reform the sector with the Renters’ Reform Bill, which is said to balance the interests of landlords and tenants.

Andrew McCausland answers Mr Gove:

“Actions speak louder than words, Mr Gove. Few landlords will believe you have their interests in mind when they remember the government actions over the past decade.

When you introduced payment of the housing element of UC direct to tenants we said it would increase arrears, leading to higher rents and increased evictions. It did.

When you brought in Section 24 we said it would lead to higher rents. You didn’t listen and it did.

When you brought in selective and additional licensing we said the additional costs would be passed on to tenants in higher rents. They were.

When you legislated for the abolition of S21 we said that, without prior changes to and investment in the courts system, it would lead to landlords leaving the sector, with a reduction in supply and therefore higher rents. You pressed ahead anyway and that is exactly what is happening.

Since 2012 your government have introduced wide ranging changes to the PRS. Some have been beneficial, but many have not helped landlords or tenants. They have all heaped additional costs on to the sector. Most of the benefits could have been gained with better implementation and enforcement of existing legislation. 

The “unforeseen consequences” of your actions were entirely foreseeable and we shouted out what they would be. Constant changes to the housing minister have meant that there was no consistent policy and what there was was disjointed and suffered from bad advice from a revolving door of pseudo-experts. Some of the ideas coming out of the Cabinet Office and CCO were mind-numbingly badly thought through.

You didn’t listen to what we said over the years and now we all – landlords, tenants, local and central government – are suffering the results.

The school year is ending and you get a D-. Must do better next term (if you get one)”