With the general election just days away here at UKinsuranceNET we are looking to see just how the outcome will affect UK landlords and our customers.
As predicted, the parties coming out on top of the polls are Labour and the Conservatives. However, as proven in the past, the prospect of a coalition government is ever present on the political landscape and therefore the opinion of the smaller parties remains relevant.
The Conservative party have not outlined many direct policies that would benefit landlords however they claim their intentions are towards supporting good landlords and encouraging a fair balance of obligations between tenant and landlord. Within the Tories’ manifesto their pledge for new housing within the UK is one of the smallest pledges from all the major parties at just 100,000. With little to say about landlords, their only real promise was to see landlord immigration checks rolled out in order to protect their businesses.
As a main contender in this political race, the Labour party seems to have more interest in the landlord’s cause. However, that is not to say that they have fully taken into account the economic implications of providing housing for rent and making a profit. Labour has outlined plans to bring professionalism back into the sector with a national register of landlords and three year tenancies as standard, both with the aim of protecting good landlords.
However, the ‘upper ceiling,’ as opposed to ‘rent controls,’ that Labour plans to implement will stop increases to rent during tenancy and potentially affect the profits landlords can gain. With the implementation of three year tenancies, this does not seem economically viable to many in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) as explained by Richard Lambert in an NLA debate.
According to the National Landlords Association (NLA) The Lib Dems have always been advocates for landlords, landlord’s rights and of landlord registration. However, as part of the current coalition government, it is interesting to note that support for the Lib Dems from landlords has diminished during the last five years from 10% in 2010 to just 5% today. Within their manifesto they claim to be planning three tenancies and the introduction of Ombudsman services to landlords, all seemingly with the aim of making the lives of landlords easier.
The Green Party poses a radical change to reform the PRS. However, according to a press release from NLA landlord support for the party hasn’t changed. Part of their radical plan includes huge five year tenancies as standard and a national licensing scheme for landlords, banning low standard landlords. They also heavily support rent stabilisation, with a cap on rent increases that could negatively affect landlords, especially over a five year period.
Given the lack of reference to PRS and issues effecting landlords from UKIP, it is strange that landlord support has actually trebled since 2010. The main pledge concerning landlords involves the preservation of green belt land and instead utilising brownfield sites and the multitude of empty properties across the UK, which will indirectly affect landlords.
The key themes coming from all the major political parties seem to be around housing generation, extending standard tenancy timescales, both causes that will benefit landlords, and capping or controlling rent costs during tenancy. This final point is a highly important element for landlords across the UK and it has been said a number of times that the political parties are forgetting the economical implications on landlords of long term tenancies mixed with potentially strict rent controls.
It will be seen in just a few days’ time how British landlords’ opinions sway and how the new government, whether coalition or not, will affect the lives of those within the private rented sector. If you have been affected as a landlord by past political actions or have concerns for the next government’s plans let us know via Twitter @UKinsuranceNET and be part of this highly topical conversation.