Comment on Labour manifesto impact on housing sector

Comment on Labour manifesto impact on housing sector

David Alexander, managing director of apropos by D.J. Alexander, commented: “Everyone involved in the housing sector will welcome the Labour party’s plans to build more social housing. There is a growing need for social housing due to the rising population, the increase in the number of smaller households, and the ageing population so more homes are urgently required.”

“However, hostility to the private rented sector (PRS) is implicit in the Labour party leader’s policies. He stated at the manifesto launch: “I accept the implacable opposition of the dodgy landlords because we will build a million homes, empower tenants and control rents.” Of course, there are dodgy landlords and it is right that they are named and shamed and prevented from renting out property in the future. But the majority of landlords are not dodgy, they do care for their tenants, they maintain their properties, and they provide secure and safe homes for their tenants. The constant attacks on the PRS help no one. It is the second largest part of the UK’s housing sector and is essential in providing homes for millions of people.”

David continued: “The fact is that even the ambitious target of a million homes over a decade won’t be enough and the PRS will remain an essential and valuable part of the UK’s housing sector for decades to come. The UK’s population is forecast to increase by 300,000 a year for the next 25 years so 100,000 homes a year will barely keep up with population growth.”

“The majority of good landlords and forward-thinking agents understand that greater security of tenure, the ending of no-fault evictions, and transparency and fairness in all relations with tenants is the future. The Prime Minister has confirmed that section 12 no fault evictions will be removed, and there are already discussions occurring in England that will make the English system similar to the Scottish one, which has open ended tenancies, greater tenant security, and has already abolished no fault evictions.”

David concluded: “The Labour manifesto seeks to vilify the private rented sector and blame landlords for all of the woes of the housing sector. The truth is that the PRS has stepped in and resolved a property shortage caused by successive governments lack of investment in social housing. Punishing this sector is not the way forward. The manifesto mentions rent controls, which generally don’t work and result in newer tenants paying more than their predecessors as initial rents are set higher to cover the fixed rents of the earlier tenants. Policies that aim to punish the PRS could result in large numbers exiting the market and if that happens, then Labour will have to build a lot more than one million homes in ten years.”