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An election of similarities

31st May 2017

Category: Opinion

Tagged: GE2017, Election, Legislation, Regulation

Well, here we go again. Yet another political ding dong for those who are interested to get excited about.

Voting intention aside, what do we know about the position each main party has on the private rental sector and what impact could this have on landlords and agents alike?

Conservatives:

“We will also improve protections for those who rent, including by looking at how we increase security for good tenants and encouraging landlords to offer longer tenancies as standard”

In English: We’ll do something but we can't say much more than that.

Lurking in the detail . . . .

“A fair debt policy – creating a “Breathing Space” for those in serious problem debt, allowing them to apply for legal protection from further interest, charges and enforcement action for a period of up to six weeks”

In English : We’ll protect people who are in trouble financially, for a short time at a least. 

“A commitment to upgrading all fuel poor homes to EPC band C by 2030”

In English : Landlords will need to upgrade their investment properties to EPC band C by 2030.   

Comfort Opinion

Unsurprising yet vague.  The direction of travel around security of tenure is positive news for tenants and landlords alike.  An ambition to support those in financial difficulty is admirable but how this works in practice needs to be understood. Environmental protect is always positive. Nothing  unexpected here but some things to understand and watch out for. 

Labour

“Labour will make new three-year tenancies the norm, with an inflation cap on rent rises. Given the pressures in London we will look at giving the Mayor the power to give renters in London additional security. We will legislate to ban letting agency fees for tenants.”

In English: Three-year contracts. Rent rises by inflation only thank you. Will investors in London please fasten their seat belts as we have forecast turbulence ahead. Letting Agents, you’ve taken the mickey for too long with fees . . . so we’ve banned them.

Lurking in the detail . . . .

“Introduce new legal minimum standards to ensure private rented homes are fit for human habitation with new measures to empower tenants to take action where their properties are not up to scratch”

In English: Let's call time on slums.

Comfort Opinion

A mixed bag. Longer tenancies with fair terms and reasonable rent rises improves things for landlords and tenants alike. London is a world unto itself and rents are high but market intervention is rarely the answer and could well mean inflation increases become the norm when there is evidence that rent rises are slowing.  Unscrupulous agents who burden tenants with fees had this coming.  Agents with a more equitable and balanced charging structures should have no trouble working through this.

Ben Harrington

Comfort Partner

An experienced Chartered Accountant and Founding Partner of Comfort Lettings.

Connect with me on Linkedin

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