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Wales Online
Wales Online
Ben Summer

People can't agree on why the rental market in Cardiff is such a mess for landlords and tenants

People across Cardiff have reacted to the growing crisis facing the capital's rental market. Landlords have said that they get over 100 tenants fighting to secure the same room while some tenants say they have ended up anxiously waiting in hotels and Airbnbs without any accommodation available at a decent price.

We spoke to landlords and lettings agents about the emerging crisis in the city's rental sector and they said recent rule changes are putting landlords in a position where they're over-regulated and over-taxed. It's leading some to sell up, which means some properties are leaving the market completely, and many of the landlords staying in the picture are increasing their rent.

The Welsh Government have described the changes as "the biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades" and provide "greater transparency and consistency" for renters.

READ MORE: The growing crisis facing Cardiff's rental market with landlords selling up and 100 people fighting for every property

WalesOnline readers have had plenty to say about the situation. Several other landlords said they recognise the problem with one commenting: "As a landlord, I too am in the process of leaving the rental market thanks to the Welsh Government's totally over the top demands.

"Sadly with much regret and a huge amount of anger I am being forced by Welsh Government to cause around 20 families to lose their long term homes. Where will they go? They have all been good reliable tenants and don't deserve to lose their homes due to Drakeford's ill thought through demands of a sector the Welsh Government clearly doesn't understand."

Another commented: "Couldn’t agree more. I’m a landlord, I’m on the very brink of selling up and making long tenants effectively homeless! The changes have been implemented with no consideration for the bigger picture! Something needs to be done asap."

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 which these landlords are talking about was designed in part to increase tenants' rights. The provisions will come into force this December and create new standard-form contracts to issue tenants, but landlords have said it creates an excessive burden to deal with.

Cardiff landlord Dave Watkins said the changes were "absurd" (Dave Watkins)

One commenter said: "I think Welsh Govt. tried to do the right thing by giving tenants more rights," but asked: "but what is the point of having more rights if there are no properties to have them in?"

A reader on Reddit explained another factor behind the problem. "There must be the best part of 40,000 students in Cardiff across all the institutions," one user said. "Then add all the people in their 20-30's working in Cardiff who need to rent as well. That's a lot of people.

"Private student halls can help address part of the problem. People moan about them but the rental situation in Cardiff would be even worse without them. As much as people hate HMOs if an HMO is sold by the landlord and it goes to a private buyer then suddenly instead of 1 house housing 4-5 adults it'll house one family unit, which could be 1 person, could be a couple, or could be a couple and a child or two."

Rebecca Deverell, Cardiff Students Union's vice president welfare, told us: "With student accommodation blocks, having a space where a student can study, feel safe, be social in groups with other students from Cardiff University or across Cardiff itself… having lived in one of those blocks myself, the community feel is much better.

"I’d rather a student had a bed and a place where they felt safe to study than students arriving with nowhere to go or having to face living in a hotel for a few weeks. If more blocks were to go up, that would help the strain."

Some people didn't have as much sympathy for landlords, including reader Nightwolf24 who said: "No landlord should be writing off tax on their mortgage interest. They are basically having tenants buy the property for them regardless if this is done."

The tax changes landlords face are coming into full force this year as a result of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2015, passed as part of George Osborne's tax policies in Westminster. They mean landlords can't write their mortgage interest payments off against their tax bill.

But as one reader said: "In order to have a good market, you must have private landlords and that means it must be attractive to them and profitable. Like it or not it’s a fact."

JeffreyRoss director of lettings Jon Hooper-Nash has seen houses leaving the rental market altogether (JeffreyRoss Estate Agents)

One reader found a middle ground and said: "No wonder landlords are selling their properties with the present legislation so heavily against them.

"No-one wants to see genuine hardship cases being turned out of a property but how about the genuine caring landlords who can't reclaim their properties when the tenant trashes the property and hasn't paid the rent for months."

On Facebook, Carole explained: "Unfortunately they started on the premise that all landlords must be bad landlords. They've made it exceptionally difficult for the single property landlord who uses the rent to in many cases supplement their pension.

"It's right and proper we have a framework that tries to ensure property let is of good standard and properly maintained but instead they're making it so difficult that many decent landlords are asking: 'Why should I bother?'

"That will make the housing situation even more difficult with fewer houses available to rent thus putting rental prices up even higher. It's lose lose."

And Lisa suggested a possible solution to the problem: "I hope there is a proper social housing policy in place to provide homes for all the private renters who will be homeless. Private landlords are not the problem but the lack of alternative as a result of selling off all the stock and not rebuilding."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will bring much greater transparency and consistency to renting a home, protecting the interests of both landlords and contract-holders. For the first time, landlords are required to provide to each renter a written statement containing all the rights and responsibilities of both parties, which will make things simpler and fairer. To help landlords ensure they include all mandatory terms and explanatory information, model written statements have been produced which they can choose to use if they wish."


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