Manifesto Review: Clear water on landlord intervention

Manifesto Review: Clear water on landlord intervention

Mortgage experts have welcomed pre-election promises to ramp up home building, but still want more of a focus on the private rented sector and cross-party support for market-boosting initiatives.

What they’ve pledged

The Conservatives announced plans to build 200,000 starter homes for first-time buyers and extend the controversial Right to Buy scheme for up to 1.3m tenants of housing associations in England, along with the creation of a £1bn brownfield regeneration fund.

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Labour also committed to building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 along with creating a ‘future homes fund’, using money saved in Help to Buy Isas to boost housing supply. For private renters, it will make three-year tenancies the norm and cap rent rises to inflation plus 1 per cent.

The Liberal Democrats aimed to build 300,000 homes a year, including in 10 new ‘garden cities’. They also promised new ‘rent to own’ homes where monthly payments steadily buy a stake in the property, along with a ‘help to rent’ tenancy deposit loan to help young people.

The Greens promised to give the Bank of England the powers it has requested to curb excesses in the housing market, which is currently under consultation. It would also scrap the government’s Help to Buy scheme and committed to building 500,000 new social rental homes.

Ukip said it would take steps to remove the barriers to brownfield builds to help build 1m homes on such sites by 2025, whilst also exempting them from stamp duty on first sale, up to the £250,000 threshold. Non-British nationals would be denied access to Right to Buy or Help to Buy.

Expert reaction

Nigel Stockton, financial services director at Countrywide.

The estate agency group welcomed every party’s initiatives to address the supply and demand for housing, noting a change in emphasis and a tacit acknowledgment that the private rented sector is here to stay.

“What is not in doubt is that housing cost, whether purchased or rented, is at the heart of the discussions and a real live political issue.

“In the [private rented sector] debate there are two main arguments, one by the Conservatives that the market is mainly working well and they can crack down on rogue landlords through current legislation without the need for specific remedies, while for Labour there are proposed rent caps and fee transparency measures,” stated Mr Stockton.

“The Liberal Democrats see tenancy deposit assistance as the way to get young people into rental properties, however the Greens and Labour both propose that legislative intervention is needed to make the rented market work better in the future than today.”

He added that the mortgage industry have been saying for some time that housing is too important to leave to chance.

“For the first time for a long time, there is a real sense that whichever party is successful on 7 May, all parties will look to increase housing supply and provide incentives to assist those moving or renting.”