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Election 2019 manifesto: how to help the UK housing market

The “once in a generation” general election set to take place in December should lead to more clarity over Brexit, but what about wider issues like the state of the country’s housing market?

Whatever effect the political deadlock regarding Brexit has had on the UK property sector, the general election penned for 12th December should help bring more certainty to the country’s economy. However, while our departure (or lack of as the case may be) from the EU may be at the forefront of politicians’ minds going into the election, it will be about much more than that for voters.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA), which represents tens of thousands of landlords and property investors across the country, has released a six-point manifesto detailing what it believes should be the focus of the future government in relation to the country’s housing market.

The six points in the manifesto

  • Boosting supply to meet demand – The RLA wants the government to do more to support good landlords to provide much needed homes, including ending the 3% stamp duty levy, reducing empty home numbers, converting commercial buildings to residential, and developing and converting properties to create more homes. Read our article on the supply and demand imbalance in the rental sector.
  • Supporting vulnerable tenants – With Universal Credit causing rent arrears, the RLA wants to end the Local Housing Allowance Cap while also letting housing benefit be paid directly to landlords more easily. Read our article on the latest guidance for landlords letting to tenants on benefits.
  • End Right to Rent – Ending the Right to Rent scheme would end the discrimination that has emerged as a result of the stringent checks. Read our article on what might happen to Right to Rent after Brexit.
  • Improving justice for tenants and landlords – Regaining possession of rental properties has caused many issues for both landlords and tenants through our current court systems, and the RLA wants the government to develop an “expert, properly funded and staffed housing court to provide justice swiftly and effectively”. Read our article on the proposed changes to Section 21 eviction notices.
  • Rooting out criminal landlords – Rather than increase the amount of legislation in the sector, the RLA wants to improve enforcement powers and scrap licensing schemes, as they only “penalise good landlords”. Read our latest article on one rogue landlord who received a hefty fine.
  • Rejecting all forms of rent controls – Rent controls serve to diminish the stock of rental housing which ends up being detrimental to the tenants they are meant to help, according to the RLA. Read our article on proposed rent controls in London.

Building on the positives in the sector

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “For too long we have let the actions of a minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute dictate the debate around rented housing. Whilst we must find and root out such people we cannot let it distract from the positive news in the sector.

“The vast majority of landlords and tenants enjoy good relations, with many tenants staying long term in their rental properties. It is important that we build upon this record, ensuring pro-growth policies to ensure a sufficient supply of homes to rent, supporting vulnerable tenants and ensuring tenants and landlords can access justice more quickly if things do go wrong.”

He added: “We call on all parties to accept our positive, pragmatic programme for the sector and end the unnecessary scaremongering which is causing many tenants to live in fear.”

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