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The Election and the Private Rented Sector: In brief

Thu 01 Jun 2017

With the General Election just a week away, you may be wondering exactly what each of the three main political parties are proposing for the Private Rental Sector and how it might affect you if they were to win. To help you gain some clarity, which may potentially help you choose where to cast your vote, we’ve looked at what each of their manifestos have to say about their plans for the rental market. 

Whilst many of their intentions are noble and could greatly benefit many tenants, unfortunately none of the parties appear to be making plans that will please many landlords.

 

Conservative

In its manifesto entitled ‘Forward Together,’ the Conservative party confirms that it will continue with the ban on letting agent fees but is otherwise light on detail and content with regards the Private Rental Sector, saying only that it intends to:-

Improve protections for those who rent, including by looking at how we increase security for good tenants and encourage landlords to offer longer tenancies as standard.

Compared to Labour and the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives are offering fewer policy pledges aimed at the PRS but in other areas of its manifesto, they propose to:-

Reform and modernise the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less costly

Crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents

Halve rough sleeping over course of the parliament and eliminate it altogether by 2027

Set up a new homelessness reduction taskforce on prevention and affordable housing

Pilot a Housing First approach to tackle rough sleeping

The party recognises that not enough homes have been built in this country for generations and that both buying and renting has become increasingly unaffordable. As a result, they plan to fix the dysfunctional housing market so that housing is more affordable and people have the security they need to plan for the future. The key part of their plan is to build enough homes to meet demand as they hope this will slow the rise in house prices and bring the cost of renting down, so in the long-term it could mean rents will stabilise or even reduce.

To achieve this, the Conservatives say they will:

Meet their 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and deliver half a million more by end of 2022

Free up more land for new homes in the right places and speed up the process 

Build better houses to match the quality of those inherited from previous generations

Support high-quality, high-density housing like mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets

Build 160,000 houses on government land

Support specialist housing where it is needed, like multi-generational homes and housing for older people

Enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing

Continue £2.5bn flood defence programme to protect 300,000 existing homes by 2021

The Conservatives say these policies will take time, but they will in the meantime continue to support those struggling to buy or rent a home, including those living in a home owned by a housing association.

 

Labour

With a manifesto entitled ‘For The Many Not The Few,’ Labour says it will end insecurity for private renters by introducing controls on rent rises, more secure tenancies, landlord licensing and new consumer rights for renters. 

In line with The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, Labour will also legislate to ban letting agency fees for tenants and further proposes to:-

Make three-year tenancies the norm with an inflation cap on rent rises

Give the Mayor of London power to offer renters in London additional security

Empower tenants to call time on bad landlords by giving renters new consumer rights

Introduce new legal minimal standards to ensure properties are fit for human habitation

Empower tenants to take action if their rented homes are sub-standard

Reverse the decision to abolish housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds, which they say risks putting even more vulnerable young people on our streets

Labour says soaring rents are a real problem, leading to more families living in temporary accommodation and more people sleeping rough. The party says homelessness has to end, full stop, and plans to make available 4000 additional homes reserved for people with a history of sleeping rough.

Labour’s pledges also include:  

Creating a new Department for Housing to tackle the UK housing crisis

Building at least 100,000 council homes a year as part of a move to build over a million new homes

 

Liberal Democrats

In its ‘Change Britain’s Future’ manifesto, The Liberal Democrats says it wants to keep our country green and support families and communities. It plans to do this by setting new energy-efficiency targets, including a long-term ambition for every home in England to reach at least an energy rating of Band C by 2035 with priority given to fuel-poor households. It also aims to reach a housebuilding target of 300,000 homes a year by 2022, including half a million affordable and energy-efficient homes.

Like Labour, The Lib Dems back the Conservatives proposed ban on letting agent fees, capping upfront deposits and increasing minimum standards in rented homes. It is also calling for additional controls on the Private Rental Sector (PRS), claiming the housing crisis in Britain has become an emergency.

On the subject of the PRS, the party proposes wider measures to help tenants, including plans to:

 

Help people who cannot afford a deposit by introducing a new Rent to Own model where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years

Promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes

Improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing and allow access for tenants to the database of rogue landlords and property agents

Increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in line with average rents in an area, ensuring that families have enough to pay their housing costs no matter where they live

Give tenants first refusal to buy the home they are renting from a landlord who decides to sell during the tenancy at the market rate according to an independent valuation

Help young people into the rental market by establishing a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30

Allow local authorities to end the right to buy if they choose

As well as doubling the current level of housebuilding, the party pledges to:-

Reach a housebuilding target of 300,000 homes a year through a Government programme to build homes for both sale and rent

Ensure that half a million affordable, energy-efficient homes are built by the end of parliament

The party proposes to end the scandal of rough sleeping by increasing support for homelessness prevention and adequately funding age-appropriate emergency accommodation and supported housing.

 

The General Election

Regardless of which political party is elected on June 8th, it seems the private rental sector can expect to see some significant changes in legislation. However, whatever may come our way, we will always be looking for new ways to support you to ensure both your investment and your rental income is protected now and in the future. 

"We were absolutely delighted that our sale was achieved and that a new property was found so quickly for us. During the process all actions and communications with David Hawkes, from your office in St Neots, were clear and carried out as swiftly and as efficiently as possible. A high quality of service - many thanks"
Mr and Mrs Williams

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