Too few houses, too many words

The housing market is being attacked on all fronts with buyers struggling to get mortgages and house prices dropping by £200 each day in the last month alone.

This means the rental market is under greater pressure.Tenants and landlords are faced with worrying contractual responsibilities. Landlords face the possibility of being caught with a tenant and no rent as a result of unemployment and redundancies. Equally, tenants face confusion over their responsibilities in times of crisis. And where there is confusion, there is opportunity for some to take advantage of the vulnerable – whether landlords or tenants.

Few landlords will find mortgage lenders sympathetic when rent money falls behind. Arrears can be due to legitimate reasons such as having to wait for benefit claims to be processed following redundancy, or long-term illness.

In all contracts, having a clear understanding from both sides is essential in dealing with any potential stress and doubts.

The Resident Landlords Association (RLA) have been members of Plain English Campaign for some years and understand the importance of clarity in leases and agreements of all kinds.

This month Plain English Campaign celebrate the first internet Crystal Mark for a Scottish landlord, Cordale Housing Association, already known for their innovative approach to working with the community.

This accreditation recognises Cordale’s efforts to communicate clearly with the public.

We now want all those regulators and other organisations who oversee social housing and private rentals to make using plain English a standard for all contracts.

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