By Claire West

The Residential Landlords Association has welcomed the announcement by Housing Minister Grant Shapps, to change the Planning Use Class regulations introduced by the previous Labour government days before the end of the last parliament.

Says RLA chairman Alan Ward: “The prospect of 8,500 planning applications clogging up the town hall system made a nonsense of landlords’ and tenants’ rights to choose who may live in a house. The measures were ill-considered and would have had a universal effect on the private rented sector when they were trying to control a problem in a limited part of the student market.

“We thank the minister for keeping a pre-election promise and look forward to the consultation process to see how new regulations can be applied appropriately in local circumstances.

“The Residential Landlords Association has consistently argued that the changes were Draconian and endorsed the view of the Rugg report (November 2008) that the problem existed in only 76 of 8,000 council wards. Despite only being in place for a few weeks the impact has been to drop house values for owner occupiers and fossilise markets for shared houses, potentially creating a two-tier market.

“Most landlords will be able once again to exercise their right to let to a group of, say, three nurses wanting to share a house, without having to ask permission from the local authority.”

It is believed the new measure will be effective from October following consultation.

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