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Housing reform: homeowners and tenants want things to change

Banning gazumping is top of the agenda for more than half of households in the UK, with caps on non-UK resident purchases and inheritance tax reforms also on homeowners’ wish lists.

A new survey looking at which housing policy reform would be the most desired among the country’s homeowners and tenants has revealed that 55% of people would like to see gazumping – where an offer that has already been accepted on a property is subsequently rejected in favour of a higher offer – banned by the government. This figure was even higher among homeowners specifically, at 64%.

The research, conducted by Market Financial Solutions, also found that more than half (52%) of people would support a policy restricting the number, value or location of properties that can be bought by non-UK residents. This issue has come to the fore in recent months after the Paradise Papers leak last year, with a new public register to reveal the beneficial owners of UK property being pushed forward by the government.

Stop property chain collapsing

For the UK’s renting population, creating a housing tribunal system that would have powers to review rent rises on individual properties to ensure they are fair would be the most popular housing reform for 58% of those who rent and have no intention of buying, and for 39% of tenants who plan to buy in the next 18 months.

Meanwhile, 46% of all households said they would like to see the removal of inheritance tax on all property assets – with 62% of those who own two or more residential properties in the UK voting for this as their top priority.

Paresh Raja, CEO of MFS, said: “Whether you’re a renter looking to make your first real estate purchase or a homeowner trying to move up the property chain, the UK property market is facing a number of important challenges.

“MFS’ research findings clearly demonstrate the public’s desire to have new laws introduced to prevent gazumping, and in turn, reduce the risk of a property chain collapsing.”

Make sellers pay stamp duty?

More than half (52%) of adults own one UK residential property, according to the survey results, while just 4% own two or more homes. Renters who have no intention of buying within the next 18 months make up a quarter of people, with 7% of tenants who are planning to buy by 2020 accounting for the remainder.

The least popular policy reform, which was chosen by just 19% of respondents, was to see changes made to stamp duty so that it’s payable by the seller rather than the buyer.

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