The next General Election is just around the corner. So, to help you out, we have looked at what each party has planned for the buy to let sector. Read on to find out what your choices are.
The Conservative Party
The Conservatives are planning to continue with the abolition of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, but they have also promised to reform the court system so landlords can gain possession of their properties more easily.
Plans to help tenants include a Lifetime Rental Deposit scheme, whereby a tenant’s deposit can be ‘passported’ between properties, which will make it easier for people to move within the private rental sector.
The Conservatives are also pledging extra protections for tenants against revenge evictions and rogue landlords as well as strengthened rights of possession for ‘good landlords’ though the exact details around how they will do this and what constitutes a ‘good landlord’ aren’t yet apparent.
Labour plans to introduce open-ended tenancies to prevent landlords from evicting tenants for no good reason. Like the Conservatives, Labour also want to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions. Labour want to look at rent controls and caps at the rate of inflation to stop runaway rents and provide help to those tenants at ‘the sharper end of the housing crisis’.
Tenants claiming benefits will see an end to their Local Authority Housing Allowance (LHA) cap under Labour. In addition, landlords will have housing benefit paid directly to them rather than to the tenant, which should reduce rent arrears among benefit tenants.
Labour want to reform the Right to Rent rules so that landlords no longer need to carry out these checks.
Labour plans to create property MOTs for landlords to reduce the amount of rents being paid to rogue landlords and to make properties safer for tenants.
In their manifesto Labour have said they will: “give councils the powers and funding to buy back homes from private landlords” but there are no further details in the manifesto around what this would mean for private landlords.
If Labour is elected they will attempt to increase the rate of tax paid on earnings over £80k but have also promised that there will be no increase in VAT.
The Liberal Democrats want to introduce longer tenancies to help people in the private rental sector enjoy greater security of tenure. If the Lib Dems are elected, landlords might have to offer three-year tenancies. In addition, there will be caps on rent increases during an existing tenancy, which will be linked to inflation to prevent rent hikes and to give tenants more security.
Other plans floated include mandatory landlord licencing, but the details of how this would work haven’t been clarified yet. They plan to end the Right to Rent immigration checks, too, as they think they are hostile.
The Lib Dems also want to raise the LHA in line with average rents in the local area.
Plans have also been floated to increase council tax significantly where properties are being bought as second homes.
We have done our best in this article to present a neutral, factual and independent overview of the key points of the manifestos of the three main parties as they relate to the PRS. However, we would strongly encourage everyone to do their own research and fact checking ahead of the election.
Whatever the outcome on December 12, rest assured, we will let you know of any major plans that affect landlords.
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