Treehaus has recently issued a press release detailing its commitment to revolutionising the rental sector across the UK. The new company has launched the first-ever national rental property database and landlord review platform, designed to give tenants a long-overdue voice and transform the industry by making landlords more accountable.
No region of the UK needs this sector overhaul more than Yorkshire and The Humber. According to the regional representative from the National Residential Landlords Association, the supply of homes across Yorkshire and The Humber is not currently able to keep up with the rapidly rising demand for rentals.
With such an imbalance of supply and demand, tenants struggle more than ever to find urgently needed rental homes, and the landlords hold all the cards. Ensuring that tenants have a voice and that landlords are kept accountable is essential in such market conditions to maintain fairness for all.
An overhaul of the current system is long overdue. As Treehaus Founder, Neil Nichols, puts it, “In no other industry does the customer get treated so badly, with so little recourse when things go wrong. It would be unthinkable for a customer to have a problem with a hotel room, and be told to live with it. Similarly, an Airbnb host would rightly expect a 1-star review if they rented out a property with mould on the walls and no hot water. There has to be a better way, and we aim to give tenants a platform to make themselves heard.”
Combating a country-wide issue
Yorkshire and surrounding rental markets have been experiencing extreme pressure with low inventory and rising costs, largely brought about by the conditions of the pandemic. According to data from the Office for National Statistics, private rental payments across Yorkshire and the Humber rose by 2.6% between December 2020 and December 2021.
In comparison, London’s private rental price change for the same period decreased 0.1%, while the South West of the country experienced average increases of 3.1%. So while there is some disparity across regions, most markets are experiencing upward pressures, and tenants are struggling to find affordable rentals.
As rent prices typically increase and inventory remains low, such competitive conditions create an even greater need for transparency and accountability when it comes to the standards of living being provided by landlords. For example, in 2019/20, around 4.4 million private landlords provided rental properties to tenants for long-term accommodation. Yet, the English Housing Survey found that in 2019, 23% of those homes did not meet the requirements set out by the Decent Homes Standard.
The government has recently introduced some key regulatory changes to improve rental conditions as part of their ‘Levelling Up’ campaign to overhaul the sector. These include a landlord register and new national standards requiring landlords to rectify non-compliance in their properties to ensure that they are ‘safe, warm, and in a good state of repair.’
However, any tenants currently living in substandard conditions have no effective means of redress against their landlord. Furthermore, despite these government initiatives, current private rental regulations mean that such changes may still not ensure consistently fair treatment for tenants.
Treehaus’s campaign to bridge the gap
The database is the first crucial step being taken by Treehaus to combat these issues. Having conducted months of research, Treehaus attests to this first national database of landlords and rentals covering 80-90 percent of both private and social rented properties. Furthermore, the database is to be used as a proactive platform for change, giving tenants an opportunity to submit their reviews – both good and bad – of landlords and their properties.
According to a survey conducted by Treehaus, 95% of tenants said that they don’t believe that the current rental industry is fairly conducted. Despite this, however, 40% reported that their rental property and landlord were both good or very good. Consequently, one of Treehaus’s primary missions is to successfully connect tenants with good landlords, and as they do so in such a transparent way, the standards will be driven up for everyone else.
Promising changes for Yorkshire
The issue of fair conditions for tenants is finally being dragged into the spotlight and addressed, and this comes at a pivotal time for Yorkshire and The Humber. According to a recent report from The Times, sources from the government’s ‘levelling up’ department have revealed that 34% of privately rented properties in the region are currently classified as ‘non-decent.’
The government initiatives, in combination with Treehaus’s national database and review platform, promises to create more transparency and fairness in the rental sector, and we must do what we can to support these changes. For the sake of our region and beyond, Yorkshire residents need to get on board to help facilitate change. Treehaus has stated that, for their campaign to work, they need as many tenant reviews as possible and aim for 1 million.
So whether you have a positive or negative review as a tenant, head over to https://www.treehaus.com/, enter your postcode, leave your review, and become part of a significant movement for change.