Working together, we can help deliver somewhere decent for everyone to call home - Nationwide

Posted On: 
29th September 2017

Nationwide’s Paul Wootton says the ‘vital’ private rented sector must meet the needs of tenants and landlords alike. 

We need for a private rented sector that meets the needs of tenants and the requirements of landlords, says Paul Wootton.
Credit: 
PA Images

As a mutual, the values Nationwide Building Society holds in today’s world remain as strong as they were when founded in the nineteenth century.

Formed out of a social and not commercial need, to help improve the living conditions of what our founders called the “industrious classes”. This group was excluded from home ownership and forced to pay hefty rents for poor quality accommodation. Now, as then, Nationwide is committed to ensuring everyone has a place fit to call home, whether as a homeowner or tenant.

While home ownership still remains the goal for many people, the private rented sector (PRS) provides a vital housing option for those not looking or not able to own a home or unable to access social housing. A lack of affordable options, sudden rent rises, and limited security of tenure are all too common, and fuel uncertainty and instability for tenants.

Likewise, multiple tax and regulatory changes are impacting how landlords manage their properties. A recent survey of 1,000 landlords for The Mortgage Works - Nationwide’s buy-to-let arm – was undertaken to gauge how landlords are reacting to the increased financial and regulatory challenges. The research found that, more than two in five (44%) are considering increasing rents, with one in ten (10%) intending to reduce the amount they spend on property maintenance.

We need for a private rented sector that meets the needs of tenants and the requirements of landlords. Recognising this need, Nationwide has launched a new cross-industry body, the PRS Partnership Board, supported by the National Landlords Association (NLA), the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), Shelter, Countrywide and the Nationwide Foundation - an independent charity we established twenty years ago. This group will try and build a consensus behind steps we can take, as well as building joint policy solutions to improve the PRS.

With a Draft Bill on letting agent fees in progress, and greater powers for local councils beginning to take effect, it is clear that reappraising the private rental sector is already firmly on the Government’s agenda. We look forward to working with Government to create a future for housing that works for all. Working together, we can help deliver somewhere decent for everyone to call home – a straight forward aspiration at the core of our mutuality.

This article first appeared in the Conservative conference edition of the House Magazine. Nationwide have responded to an article from Kevin Hollinrake MP, which can be found here.