Election ’24 – Industry leaders call for landlord support

Heidi Shackell, chief executive officer at The Lettings Hub said: “The General Election, called in May, halted progress of the Renters’ (Reform) Bill, right as the private rental sector was getting ready for its imminent implementation. Therefore, it will be no surprise to see Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Government is set to include renter reforms in the King’s Speech expected on 17th July.

“We support policies that create a fair private rental sector for all. Now that we have a new government, we’re expecting to see an end to the uncertainty surrounding rental reforms and are looking forward to hearing more about the parliamentary timetable for its re-introduction. Labour also has a very ambitious set of policies for the wider housing sector; setting out to build 1.5m new homes, committing to removing no fault evictions, and reducing the stamp duty threshold for first-time buyers from £425,000 to £300,000. Regardless of any political view on these policies, we hope the political certainty we now have will increase stability in our sector, as we firmly believe that having a roof over our head should be a basic right for all.

Heidi Shackell, chief executive officer at The Lettings Hub

System in a mess

“It is important to protect tenants, and we want our sector to continue to provide safe, secure homes for everyone who chooses to rent a home. But the expected abolition of so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions must be accompanied by effective court reform.

“We therefore urge the new Secretary of State for Housing, Angela Rayner, to stand by the words she used in an LBC interview, stating “I do hear that the court system is in a mess at the moment, and that does need sorting.”

“As a leading provider of tenant references and rent and legal protections, we see first-hand how affordability can be put under a great strain as a result of increased rental prices. However, the most effective way to keep rental prices in check is to recognise that the key driver for rental price growth is the imbalance of supply and demand; and therefore we urge Labour to seek to readdress this imbalance by supporting the UK’s landlords with effective, sensible policies which recognise the crucial role that around 2.65 million landlords play in the provision of almost 20% of homes across the UK.”

Gary Wright, CEO of deposit alternative specialists, flatfair, said Labour’s victory came as no surprise.

Gary Wright, CEO of deposit alternative specialists, flatfair

“The country has been crying out for change and have given Keir Starmer the mandate to make that change happen.

“A clear area requiring urgent attention is housing and more importantly affordability. Let’s hope he can live up to his pledge to build 1.5m new homes in the next 5 years, only house building can fundamentally improve the affordability crisis.

“Until that happens renters will remain under huge cost pressures and deposit alternatives will provide an important choice in allowing tenants to reduce their upfront costs of renting.

“But the government must take a balanced approach around renting to ensure landlords are not put off being landlords as this would only make supply issues worse and push costs up even higher.

“We will watch Labour progress with great interest.”

Allison Thompson, National Lettings Managing Director, Leaders Romans Group, said: “Labour’s victory in the general election marks a significant turning point for the private rented sector (PRS). With their ambitious plans for housing reform, it is crucial that the new government addresses the pressing issues facing both landlords and tenants.

Election '24 - Industry leaders call for landlord support

Allison Thompson, National Lettings Managing Director, Leaders Romans Group

Thriving rental market

“Firstly, fiscal reform must be a priority. The current tax regime has already driven too many landlords out of the PRS due to increased taxes and additional regulations. Property lets are the only businesses in the UK that do not have taxes offset. To ensure a stable and thriving rental market, taxation must be reassessed to level the playing field.

“Secondly, the role of the PRS in addressing homelessness cannot be overstated. With a growing deficit in affordable homes, the PRS is pivotal in providing homes for those in need. Labour must shift its focus from penalising rogue landlords to supporting and encouraging fair and honest landlords who contribute positively to the housing sector.

“Energy efficiency demands are another critical area that requires clarity. Landlords need a realistic and manageable timeframe for implementing energy efficiency improvements, considering the associated costs and rental voids. Clear guidelines and reasonable expectations are essential for the long-term sustainability of the sector.

“The failure to pass the Renters (Reform) Bill was a setback, highlighting the need for comprehensive housing policies that provide stability and address the critical issues in the sector. Labour’s promise of 1.5 million homes over the next parliament is ambitious, and while it is promising to see a focus on housing build programmes, the undersupply in the PRS during this period must also be addressed.

“Finally, clear commitments on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) will provide homeowners with the certainty they need to plan their futures without fear of sudden policy changes.

“We urge the new government to place housing at the heart of its agenda, providing the consistency and long-term focus that the sector desperately needs. The private rented sector is integral to solving the housing crisis, and we look forward to working with Labour to ensure that all aspects of the housing market are effectively addressed.”

Source: Estate Agent Today

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