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Tories told: adopt some Labour rental policies or risk losing election

The government has been told is should simply adopt some Labour rental policies or risk losing the next General Election - and the advice has come from an unlikely source.

The Spectator magazine, which is Conservative-supporting and backs a broadly right-wing pro-Brexit line espoused by the current government, comes up with the unlikely advice in an editorial in its current edition.

The editorial says that rising house prices were once seen as an electoral asset but now - as home-owning older voters face seeing their children contemplating a lifetime in rented accommodation - that aspiration poses what the magazine calls “an existential threat” to the Conservatives.


“If you are stuck in a rented flat, frustrated at your inability to afford your own home, the housing policies advanced by Jeremy Corbyn at last year’s General Election are far more appealling - a cap on rent rises, three-year minimum tenancies and a licensing scheme that aims to drive rogue landlords out of business” it says.

The Spectator continues: “Those stuck renting are likely to conclude that the current system is at fault and any change which disfavours landlords will be an improvement. Capitalism will never appeal to those without any capital."

The magazine then goes on to endorse longer tenancies and rent controls - both policies advocated by Corbyn and Labour in recent years.

“It would cost no public money at all to change the law so that in most cases tenants could look forward to a minimum of three years’ security of tenure with rents controlled for that duration” it advocates.

It then criticises Conservatives who say this would interfere with the free running of the market, adding for good measure that a restrictive planning system means there is no free market for housing anyway.

Concluding that the government risks losing the support of a generation of younger voters and thus losing power, it says: “The Tories have two options - fix the housing market or lose the next election. It’s time to choose.”

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    When will these guys learn, landlord license schemes are a waste of time and money. They have the powers and ability to tackle rouge landlords but don’t use them. 3 year minimum ASTs sound great but the ability to remove rouge tenants needs to be in place also, and mortgage providers needs to remove restrictions in t&cs for this to happen. As for rent control fine I will increase rents as per inflation which will cost tenants more in the long run. These parties need some policies that are in the real world for a change.

  • James B

    Longer tenancies happen anyway in most cases with a good rent paying tenant. What landlord puts out a good tenant ?.
    The bottom line here is whoever is seen to bash landlords the hardest gets the all important tenant vote .. a very unfortunate situation for landlords now.
    Hopefully the 95% of tenants happy with their landlord see through all this rubbish

  • Don Holmes

    It’s not unusual for the Spectator to be behind the curve. Let’s be clear, Landlords can already offer long term 3-5 year contracts, in fact the average occupancy term is already 2.5 years. But this should not be imposed until the court recovery system is improved. Average time for possession 6 months. Further more, many first time buyers are already shackled with a lump of student debt and so have no desire, or credit worthiness to adopt a 25 year mortgage, job security is no longer, transiancy is far more common. These are all symptoms of the broken housing market and not the fault of the Landlord. In relation to rent capping, history shows any government do so at their peril

  • Mark Wilson

    Don't worry about the detail, or who wins the next election, Labour policy will infiltrate Tory policy. Why, because the buy to let game is over, and society has decided it wont allow it to continue as it is.

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    Rent controls were in place previously with rents fixed by law for 3 years. The only increase allowed was the increase in council tax (rates as they were known) so landlord's were stuck with a fixed rent but not a fixed tenant for the period. No reason why a landlord could not insert an option to continue renting to a good tenant in occupation and evict a bad tenant based on breaches in the agreement.

    If the changes suggested were invoked then this would be a retrograde step and certainly not progress.

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    More rubbish from people who don't understand anything about the rental market !

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    Ah! The lovverly Labour Party. I can almost guarantee that if JC manages to become PM (ha! ha! ha!) watch as the PRS shrinks pretty quickly and then where will tenants find suitable property to rent? No they haven't thought of that!

    P.S. I like Leon Coy's 'rouge' tenants. Would that be reds under the bed?

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    I don't think making the PRS a political football is going to make for a better rental market.

    At present there are elements of the PRS that both Landlords and Tenants don't like but if people play by the rules then it works quite well.

    If you have reluctant tenants because they can't afford to buy then they are never going to be happy until they are able to buy.

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    Has the Spectator been hacked?

    Seriously though. I am a home owning parent with 3 children who have been to University, studied hard and got themselves decent jobs. They are having no problem buying a house.

    I would suggest the reason that renters find it difficult to buy a house lies elsewhere!

  • Barry X

    good idea..... why fiddle around undermining and compromising the s.21 notice when an incompetent government, desperate for a few more votes and heedless of the cost, might as well scrap the AST altogether and plunge us back into the bad-old days of 1950s style legislation.

    Many forget the utter slump and mess of it all back then (when there was no incetive to invest in property, improve it or giver a damn about tenants), until the revolutionary boost the whole economy got, and that everyone benefited from, thanks to the Housing Act 1988, and its fairly sensible (and generally helpful) 1996 update.....

    Reversing all that and taking us back is absolutely crazy and a HUGE setback for all, but it seems that's where we're all being led (on very false pretenses) anyhow, like it or not (and I don't).



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