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Lib Dems want rent and deposit caps as well as  agents' fees ban

The Liberal Democrats want a raft of additional controls on the private rented sector aimed at addressing what it describes as the “emergency” condition of the UK housing market.

Like Labour, it backs the Conservatives’ proposed ban on letting agents’ fees levied on tenants in England.

But in addition it calls for:

- tenants to have first refusal to buy the home they are renting from a landlord who decides to sell during the tenancy at the market rate determined by an independent valuation;

- longer tenancies of three years or more with inflation-linked annual rent increases built in “to give tenants security and limit rent hikes;”

- improved protection against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing and allow access for tenants to the database of rogue landlords and letting agents;

- introducing a Rent To Own model where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years - although no details of how this would work are contained in the manifesto;

- banning lettings fees for tenants plus “capping upfront deposits and increasing minimum standards in rented homes”;

- helping young people into the rental market by establishing a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time tenants under 30.

On wider housing issues, the party’s manifesto proposes a ban on new homes being advertised overseas before they are marketed to Britons, plus a “government commissioning programme” to build 300,000 homes a year. There would also be at least 10 new garden cities in England containing “high-quality, zero-carbon homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport”. 

There would be an end to some housing association Right To Buy pilot schemes and councils would be able to “levy up to 200 per cent council tax on second homes and ‘buy to leave empty’ investments from overseas.”

You can read the full Lib Dem manifesto here.

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    "a ban on new homes being advertised overseas before they are marketed to Britons"

    Hard to see how they can implement this. It's not called the "world wide web" for nothing!

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    Just more proof that the Lib Dems live in Cloud Cuckoo land.

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    It's a good job this irrelevant party has no chance of getting in then!

  • Barry X

    They're desperate for votes and these all seem to me to be just 'opportunistic' policies to try and gain votes from ignorant people who might believe this could all simply happen and then work for them in their favour.

    None of the people who cobbled these policy ideas together are likely to know anything at all about the private rental sector, let alone how or why its enormous expansion and diversity happened. Prior to the Housing Act 1988 coming into force more or less anyone renting residential property was a "sitting tenant", mainly under the 1954 Act or something similar.

    The 1988 Act, followed by a few tweaks and slightly more deregulation in the 1996 Act is what REALLY allowed it all to happen, with the potential for mandatory possession via a "section 21" (s21) notice, and all the rest. Rents could at last be 'fair open market' and not set by some out of touch committee (rent tribunal or whatever) that favoured tenants and didn't seem to have heard of inflation!

    It's fairly well known that a property let to a "sitting tenant" is worth about 1/3 of the open market value of exactly the same property with vacant possession, i.e. no sitting tenant. More or less the only people who can buy properties with sitting tenants are "professional investors" with cash, at auctions, because such properties are virtually unmortgageable.

    All the recent measures undermining the validity or enforceable of the s21, such as the "anti-retaliatory eviction" rules and requirements for landlords to prove they have "protected" deposits (when they were already protected by law anyhow), all those measures (and more to come, no doubt) are actually undermining the whole concept and basis of the modern private rental sector/market and returning it to the stagnant mess of the late 1970s and 1980s when there was no point or incentive for landlords to spend money on keeping properties looking 'smart' and up to date because it made no difference, and if you had a nice property you wouldn't consider renting it to anyone because you'd be a fool if you did!

    Also, all of these measures undermine the concept of property ownership and are, in my opinion, a sort of back door (pardon the pun), slow, stealthy and ultra-cheap way of indirectly accruing private property and turning it all into a sort of "social housing" under state and legislative control.

    Could be time to get out..... I've been thinking about that for quite a while myself and considering other, brighter, better things to do with what's left of my life.

    Good luck to new entrants - the long term prospects may not be as good as they once were in years gone by (with good capital growth, high rental yields and relatively low running and management costs). "Past performance is no indication of future potential" or something.

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    "are actually undermining the whole concept and basis of the modern private rental sector/market and returning it to the stagnant mess of the late 1970s and 1980s"

    Well said!

     
  • Barry X

    PS. was supposed to say acquiring private property, not accruing it (spell checker must have changed due to a typing error or something). Also, just to clarify, when I said deposits were already protected by law, they were. However the affordability of those laws could perhaps have been improved rather than the nonsense of the 2006 Act (much of which, such as the infamous "HIPS", has failed and/or steadily been superseded).

    Thanks.

  • Barry X

    oops, and "affordability" was meant to say "enforceability".... bad typing day I think. those liberals must have made me jumpy!!!

    :-)

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