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Incentives needed to drive rental improvements

However, no recommendation was given as to how this could be accomplished in the Budget last month. A survey of landlords by ARLA revealed that if they were to receive immediate tax relief almost two thirds (61%) would upgrade their property in some way.

Ian Potter, Operations Manager, at ARLA said: "The PRS is dominated by small landlords – just under three-quarters of all landlords are private individual or couples rather than companies. The costs of improving stock are often intimidating, especially when meeting decent homes standards and energy efficiency targets."

ARLA proposed in its budget submission earlier this year that due attention be given to incentivising the improvement of let property through tax relief for landlords. An incentive scheme would also help landlords meet challenging energy efficiency targets.

Potter said: "Private rent gives unique solutions to housing shortages, but carries with it special challenges. Today many people are living in sub-standard homes with very little prospect of an upgrade, and we need to look at new ways to stimulate improvement in this sector.

"I’m pleased that the Government recognises that there is much to be done to improve rental stock and is committed to doing so – but as yet there is no indication of how this will be done or where the money will come from."

The ARLA survey showed that the most popular age of property for landlords is between 51 and 100 years old. It also found that at the time of buying one-third (33%) of properties are in poor condition or in need of refurbishment.

Without financial incentives for landlords, ARLA said the Government was "not helping itself" to meet its commitments.

Potter said: "Many rental properties are old, in some cases very old, and therefore likely to be in need of some kind of improvement in condition. But this is possibly the worst time for such an investment to be made by a landlord – and it’s the tenants that are losing out."

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