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Further criticism of Labour's controversial Right to Buy plans

A group of landlords in the North East are the latest to criticise Labour's plans to introduce a Right to Buy scheme for private tenants.

The overwhelming majority of a group of 40 Newcastle landlords said they were against the policy, which was first mooted by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell last month.

The plans would enable private tenants living in buy-to-let investment properties to be given the right to buy them at a reduced rate set by the government.

Since the proposals were first put forward, they have been scathingly criticised by many in the property industry.

The Times calculated the proposal could cost the average landlord £18,400 in lost income and appreciation, which could collectively total approximately £50 billion.

The proposed policy has also been criticised by a number of Conservative MPs and lettings chiefs, such as David Smith of the RLA and David Alexander of Apropos.

Some 40 landlords were interviewed by letting agency Walton Robinson, with many of them suggesting that the plans would impact on their future investments if ever introduced.

The landlords said a Right to Buy scheme for tenants, as proposed by Labour, would dissuade them from acquiring further buy-to-let properties.

"This policy would have a severe impact on the private rental sector and has the potential to wipe out a large proportion of available housing," says Mark Walton, managing director of Walton Robinson.

"If a landlord wants to sell a property to a long-term tenant, they should be able to do so, but only on a voluntary basis. Making it statutory is ludicrous and will lead to landlords considering their options and perhaps selling up."

"Rather than helping people onto the property ladder it will reduce the options for those who want to rent or even force people out of their homes," he says.

Walton adds that if policies like this find their way through in the midst of Brexit and election noise, they could be 'disastrous' for the economy.

"Labour need to seriously rethink this proposal and perhaps come up with ideas that will support those who prefer to rent and the landlords that provide them with high quality homes," he says.

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