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 second in a series of articles on the main parties’ election manifestos, we’ll take a look at what the Labour Party are planning for the housing sector and how landlords and housing experts are responding to it.
What’s in the Manifesto?
The Labour manifesto includes plans to:
. Make three year tenancies standard across the private rented sector while capping rent increases in line with inflation.
. Give the Mayor of London new powers to provide additional security for tenants to help deal with the unique pressures renters face in the capital.
. Introduce new legal minimum standards to ensure private rented homes are fit for human habitation and empower tenants to take action when their properties do not meet these standards.
. Scrap the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.
. Reverse the decision to cut housing benefit payments for those aged between 18 and 21.
. Establish a new Department for Housing.
. Insulate more homes.
. Hold a consultation on preventing so-called ‘rabbit hutch’ homes and implement new minimum space standards for new housing developments.
. Develop a national plan to address the problem of homelessness.
How has the manifesto been received?
While welcoming the attention Labour has given to housing in its election manifesto, Alan Ward, chairman of the Rental Landlords Association, was sceptical about the party’s policies.
He said; “Rent controls do not work and only serve reduce the supply and quality of homes to let. There is little evidence of demand for long tenancies and the PRS is already subject to strict regulations and standards, albeit ones that are not uniformly enforced.
“By introducing these policies Labour is in very real danger of crashing the sector, which will do nothing to help the families and vulnerable people renting homes that the party wants to support and protect.”
Ruth Davison, executive director of public impact at the National Housing Federation, was more positive, saying her organisation welcomed Labour’s ‘focus and ambition’ on housing issues.
She said; “The Labour Party is right to recognise the links between housing, infrastructure and construction skills and we look forward to hearing more detail on an industrial and skills strategy. Housing associations have ambitious skills and training programmes, and are keen to ensure they are used to support those most in need.”