November 1, 2023 7:51 am

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

Flippers Challenge Experts: Unpacking Social Media Success . In a response to claims made on social media by a prominent figure in the Renters Reform Coalition, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has taken a firm stance. NRLA’s CEO, Ben Beadle, penned a comprehensive and meticulously argued letter, addressing the coalition’s leaders and their viewpoints on crucial matters. Notably, the individual responsible for the initial claims is not among the letter’s recipients.

The recipients of this letter are the heads of six organizations involved in the coalition. These six entities represent some of the most prominent and influential members of the 20-strong coalition, known for their moderate and balanced approach to housing issues. The NRLA’s letter seeks clarity on the coalition’s positions regarding the contentious claims that have sparked discussion on social media.

As the debate surrounding these claims continues, the NRLA’s letter aims to foster a deeper understanding of the Renters Reform Coalition’s stance on key issues. By directly engaging with the coalition’s leadership, the NRLA seeks to promote transparency and open dialogue in the ongoing discourse.

The individuals in question include Matt Downie, the CEO of homeless charity Crisis, Polly Neate, the CEO of Shelter, a campaigning charity, Sam Stewart, the interim CEO of the Nationwide Foundation, a coalition-funding organization, Matthew Upton, acting CEO of policy and advocacy at Citizens Advice, the policy team at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, and Ben Twomey, CEO of Generation Rent.

Beadle’s letter primarily addresses what he labels as the coalition’s “strong language.” Specifically, he highlights tweets by Tom Darling, identified as the campaigns manager of the Renters Reform Coalition and an occasional contributor to Labour In Communications, a network of Labour supporters in the communication, public affairs, and media industry.

In his letter, Beadle seeks clarification and a more detailed understanding of the coalition’s rhetoric, emphasizing the need for a constructive and informed dialogue regarding their positions and statements.

In one section of Beadle’s letter, he points out that Tom Darling, representing the Renters Reform Coalition, suggested on a platform (X) that all grounds for repossession should be discretionary. He emphasizes that this viewpoint doesn’t align with the NRLA’s stance and seeks clarity on the respective organizations’ positions on this matter. Beadle proceeds to pose a series of detailed questions regarding their views on repossession.

In another segment of his letter, Beadle references Tom Darling’s statement on behalf of the Renters Reform Coalition, where it was mentioned that tenants should have the right to keep ‘a pack of Great Danes’ in their properties. Considering this statement, Beadle expresses an interest in hearing proposals regarding when a property might be unsuitable for a specific type or number of pets. For instance, he inquires if having a large dog in a small flat without a garden would be considered suitable. Once more, Beadle’s letter includes supplementary questions to elicit further details on the organizations’ positions.

Beadle further elaborates on the NRLA’s well-established stance on court reform in the letter and concludes by suggesting a collaborative effort between the NRLA and the coalition to urge the government to reconsider the freeze on Local Housing Allowances.


Here is Beadle’s letter in full:

I write to you as your organizations are leading members of the Renters Reform Coalition.

As you will know, the NRLA has never shied away from accepting the challenges that tenants face in the private rental market.

We agree that tenants need to feel confident enough to raise complaints about poor-quality housing, that councils need the resources to take enforcement action against rogue and criminal landlords, and that tenants should have access to proper legal support where possession cases end up in the courts. Likewise, we support calls for the unjust freeze on LHA rates to be reversed.

However, alongside this, reform of the rental market needs to gain the confidence of responsible landlords. After all, greater security for tenants will not mean much if the homes to rent are not there in the first place. Rightmove, Zoopla, and others all point to the demand for private rented housing already outstripping the available supply.

Over recent years, debate about the future of the private rental sector has become increasingly polarized as a battle between the needs of tenants on the one hand and those of landlords on the other. We do not think this has to be the case and are concerned at some of the language that gives the impression that someone can be pro-landlord or pro-tenant, but not both. This is simply not true. 

Landlords and tenants mutually depend on one another, and reform of the sector must work for both parties.


In view of this, I would welcome your response to the following points:


1. Court reform 

As you know, in response to the LUHC Committee report on the private rented sector, the government made clear that it “will not proceed with the abolition of Section 21 until reforms to the justice system are in place.”

We understand how frustrating this is. We are equally frustrated that it has taken so long for a commitment to undertake these reforms to be made when their necessity has been clear for several years. Practical steps could and should have already been taken in preparation for the bill.

We have long argued that the need for an improved court system to handle Section 8 re-possessions was an essential pre-requisite for the replacement of Section 21 to work. In 2020, we highlighted the need for the courts to reduce the time to process legitimate post-session cases in our proposals for the new system to replace Section 21. 

Likewise, as far back as 2018, the then HCLG Select Committee called for the development of a specialist housing court, while in its report on the private rented sector in February, the current LUHC Committee warned that “it is not clear whether the government fully appreciates the extent to which an unreformed court system could undermine its tenancy reforms.” 

We want court reforms that would benefit tenants and landlords. Tenants need to be able to access legal advice and support much more easily where possession cases are being considered by the courts. Likewise, where landlords have a legitimate reason to repossess a property, whether that be for serious rent arrears or anti-social behavior, it means ensuring the courts process such cases much more swiftly than at present, as called for by the LUHC Committee.

We believe that there is potential to build common ground on the issue of court reform and would be grateful for your thoughts on the following:

  • What time frames do you think the courts should be working to when processing legitimate possession claims such as those related to tenant anti-social behaviour or rent arrears?
  • Would you be prepared to work with the NRLA in making a powerful joint call for reforms to the court system to benefit both tenants and responsible landlords? If not, we would welcome an understanding of your concerns.


2. Grounds for Possession 

In a thread on X, Tom Darling from the Renters Reform Coalition implied that all grounds for repossession should be discretionary. 

This is not a stance the NRLA agrees with, but we would appreciate the opportunity to understand your respective organisations’ positions on:

  • Under what circumstances do you believe that it should be permissible for a tenant to build eight weeks or more of unpaid rent?
  • Under what circumstances would it be acceptable for a tenant found guilty of anti-social behavior to remain on a property?
  • Under what circumstances would it be okay for a tenant to remain on a property if they were found not to have a legal right to rent it?
  • Under what circumstances do you believe a landlord should be prohibited from selling a property that they own?


3. Pets in Rented Homes 

As an organisation we understand the importance of pets in providing companionship for many renters. We support the measures in the Bill that would ensure both that landlords could not unreasonably withhold consent from tenants wanting to keep a pet and that tenants with pets would have the necessary insurance. 

We note again, however, that Tom Darling, speaking on behalf of the Renters Reform Coalition, has said that if tenants want “a pack of Great Danes”, living in their properties, “that should be their right.”


Given this comment, we would welcome your proposals as to when a property might be unsuitable for a certain type or number of pets. For example, would a large dog in a small flat without a garden be suitable? Likewise: 

  • In a shared house, whose rights should prevail if one tenant wants a pet and another does not want one on the property?
  • How do you propose handling pets that cause a nuisance for other tenants or neighbors? Should it be classified as anti-social behavior on the part of the tenant? Should a landlord be able to insist on the pet being removed, or would it be grounds to repossess the property?
  • Would you be prepared to work with the NRLA in calling for the guidance provided to the courts about what would constitute a reasonable reason to refuse a tenant having a pet to be as comprehensive as possible, not least to prevent inconsistent judgements from the courts and clarity for tenants and landlords?


4. Ban on ‘No DSS’ Adverts 

As you know, the Government has said it wants to bring forward measures to ban ‘No DSS’ advertisements, which we support. Every tenant should be treated on an individual basis based on their ability to sustain a tenancy.

However, I am sure you will agree that a ban of this kind is unlikely to achieve much without also unfreezing the Local Housing Allowance. 

In view of this, would you be prepared to work with the NRLA in making a joint call on the Government and the Labour Party to commit to reversing the unjust freeze on LHA rates with a commitment, at the very least, to re-link it to the 30th percentile of rents and uplift it accordingly each year? 

While we accept that there are issues on which we will not agree, we believe it is important that, as groups representing tenants and landlords, we are able to find common ground where we can work together for the benefit of the sector as a whole. In short, it is time to end the divisive rhetoric that is giving the wholly inaccurate impression that the majority of landlords cannot be trusted, but rather recognise that both parties need to work together to have a successful tenancy. 

Given the importance of the issues raised in this letter, I will be making it publicly available on the NRLA website, and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Yours sincerely, 

Ben Beadle 

Chief Executive 


Read more Property Investing News HERE

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}