The Bartlett Real Estate Institute


Changes in housing policy must consider the bigger picture, says BREI chair

23 April 2019

As the government plans to ban no-fault evictions, BREI chair Professor Barnes argues that policy changes must be considered within the bigger picture, BREI chair Professor Yolande Barnes argues.

A modern building with blue and yellow cladding

In a comment piece for housingtoday.co.uk, Prof Barnes says that the simplistic ideology of housing policy is often fraught with unintended consequences. In this case, the government’s plans to stop private landlords evicting tenants without good reason could encourage landlords to disinvest. 

The new regulation may benefit existing tenants by providing greater security but if no new landlords take the place of those disinvesting then would-be new tenants will suffer.

“Any policy to restrict no-fault evictions will only work in the long term if active measures are put in place to then encourage the type of landlords who do not need to liquidate their holdings on a frequent basis,” Prof Barnes argues.

“This could be long-term private companies and institutions, housing associations, local authorities or a combination of these. More radical solutions may be to encourage small landlords to pool properties into tradeable funds or to virtually unitise or securitise their properties through new technologies like blockchain, for example. The aim of such solutions would be to increase investment liquidity without decreasing tenant security.”

Prof Barnes says that as the rental demographic changes the government must enable public, private and third sector agencies to join in the provision of much-needed housing, of the right type, without diminishing what already exists.

“This is yet another case in the world of housing where all sides have to come together to solve a problem. At the moment, each group is looking at the issue of housing supply from very different positions and consequently missing the whole picture,” she says.

Read the full article

Image: Noah Carter for Unsplash