With a general election scheduled for 8th June, the political parties have been publishing their manifestos and they’ve all announced policies on housing which could have a big impact on the private rental sector.
In the first in a series of articles on the main parties’ election manifestos, we’ll take a look at what the Conservative Party are planning for the housing sector and how landlords and housing experts are responding to it.
What’s in the manifesto?
The Conservative manifesto includes plans to:
. Consider ways to increase security for good tenants and encourage landlords to offer longer tenancies.
. Strengthen the enforcement of equalities legislation, so that landlords who deny people a service on the basis of ethnicity, religion or gender can be investigated and prosecuted.
. Cut rough sleeping in half over the course of the parliament and eliminate it altogether by 2027.
. Introduce modernising reforms into the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less expensive.
. Crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, including escalating ground rents.
. Meet the 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020, delivering half a million more by the end of 2022.
. Deliver the reforms proposed in the Housing White Paper.
. Build high-quality, high-density housing like mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets and pledges that a Conservative government would build 160,000 houses on government owned land.
. Support specialist housing where it is needed, like multi-generational homes and housing for older people, including helping housing associations increase their specialist housing stock.
. Work with house builders in the public and private sectors to capture the increase in land value created when they build to reinvest in local infrastructure, essential services and additional housing.
How has the manifesto been received?
Writing on the Tory-supporting Conservative Home website, Natalie Elphike, Chief Executive of the Housing and Finance Institute, described the plans as ‘thoughtful, pragmatic and a radical manifesto for housing’.
She said; “This would be a return to a more traditional economic analysis of housing utility. From a macro-financing perspective, this would infer a return to mortgage market-based capital investment, wholesale and institutional investment for social and affordable rented homes, and firmer action to dampen buy-to-let.”
The Rental Landlords Association were much less enthusiastic about the Conservative Party’s plans for housing.
RLA Chairman Alan Ward said the manifesto does not do enough to support the private rental sector.
He said: “With almost two million new homes to rent needed by 2025 this manifesto does not go far enough in supporting good landlords to develop the new homes we need.
“We need a tax system that encourages landlords wanting to invest in new homes for tenants and a planning system that frees up small plots as well as improving existing stock.”