Automated rental payment provider PayProp has welcomed London mayor, Sadiq Khan’s entry into the debate over the way the UK housing market is run.
“Sadiq Khan’s call for an independent housing commissioner adds to the profile and diversity of the debate,” says Neil Cobbold, Chief Operating Officer of PayProp in the UK.
“Everyone agrees housing is in a mess, and we need a proper debate to address it.”
PayProp says Khan’s proposal represents an interesting possibility ahead of the Conservative Party conference.
“The number of housing ministers over the past few years has been well documented and a lack of continuity has contributed towards the ‘broken’ housing market acknowledged by the Government,” says Cobbold.
Back in June, Reading West MP Alok Sharma became the sixth Housing Minister to take the role since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.
“With 15 politicians taking the role of Housing Minister since 1997, it’s been hard for anyone to really get their feet under the table and make the required progress. And the fact that the Housing Minister is still not part of the Cabinet certainly compounds this.”
“That’s why we think the idea of a housing tsar, either in London or working on a national basis, deserves serious consideration. It could be one of the first steps towards improving the nation’s housing outlook and we would welcome a discussion on this issue during the upcoming party conference season.”
Cobbold suggests a housing tsar could work across three specific issues – housebuilding, transparency and helping ‘generation rent’.
He explains that depoliticising delivery could contribute to quicker and more efficient housebuilding as well as improving transparency in both the sales and lettings sectors.
What’s more, ‘generation rent’ could be helped by a housing tsar pushing more savings and buying initiatives and an improved standard of rental accommodation for the growing number of long-term private tenants.
This is because an independent representative’s mandate would be solely focused on improving the housing system, rather than meeting differing party-political objectives.
The Mayor and Dorian Gonsalves, Chief Executive of the UK’s largest franchise agency Belvoir, are just two of the high-profile figures to recently discuss the possible benefits of a housing tsar.
Khan’s call came after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June and is aimed at helping to protect tenants’ interests.
He wrote an open letter suggesting that a housing tsar could act as watchdog for social tenants, leaseholders and freeholders.
Gonsalves believes a national housing tsar could work with experts and politicians from all parties, and consequently make recommendations to the new housing minister. He said this would help to improve market stability.
“If London can have a dedicated ‘night tsar’, we believe there is room for a housing tsar to help Alok Sharma implement the changes that are desperately needed to improve our housing market,” Cobbold concludes.
After launching in the UK in 2015, PayProp – the only bank-integrated automated payment platform operating in the UK property market – has experienced rapid growth and partnered with a number of high-profile agencies.
The PropTech solution now services 200 UK agencies, averaging 8% month-on-month client growth over the last six months.