Downing Street

UK landlords have power to influence the election result

UK landlords in over 120 constituencies could have the deciding vote in next week’s general election, based on data from HMRC and published by The Times newspaper.

The newly released figures are taken from the number of landlords in 124 constituencies who received taxable income from buy-to-let properties in the 2017-2018 tax year.

The analysis confirms that in these constituencies, incumbent MPs could be at risk given the number of landlords is equal or higher than their majorities.

Policy director at the Residential Landlords Association, David Smith, said: “Private landlords could be decisive in who ends up in Downing Street following the election.”

Which Tory seats are in danger?

A total of 55 are constituencies with Conservative MPs. It is possible that landlords aggrieved at consecutive Tory governments hitting them with higher taxes and drastically reduced tax reliefs for those paying mortgage interest or claiming wear and tear, may choose to exercise their views at the ballot box.

High profile names are among the 55 Conservative seats, which include former party leader Iain Duncan Smith in Chingford, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers representing Chipping Barnet, and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland in South Swindon.

In 2017, Labour held 39 of the seats named in this latest report, including the party’s most marginal seat in Kensington, along with Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald’s seat in Middlesbrough, and Lesley Laird, the Shadow Scottish Secretary’s seat in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

Among the seven seats won by the Liberal Democrats in 2017 in which the landlord vote could be decisive are the seats of Westmorland and Lonsdale, held by the party’s former leader Tim Farron, and Kingston and Surbiton, won at the last election by the party’s Deputy Leader, Ed Davey.

All parties should support good landlords

HMRC’s data analysis reveals that of those constituencies in which the landlord vote is the same as or larger than the majorities won in 2017, 14 are in London, 12 are in the south-east, 11 are in the East Midlands, 11 are in the north-west, 10 are in Yorkshire and The Humber, nine are in the south-west, eight in the east of England, six are in the West Midlands and the north-east has three.

Landlords could decide the final results across nine seats in Wales, 25 in Scotland and six in Northern Ireland.

David Smith commented: “All parties need to do more to enforce the wide range of powers already available to root out criminal landlords rather than introduce new obligations which have no hope of being properly enforced by hard pressed councils.”

“For those unable to afford a home of their own or unable to access social housing the rental market is their only hope of having somewhere to live. With that in mind, we call on all political parties to do more to support good landlords to provide the homes to rent we need.”

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