The Liberal Democrats is the first of the major parties to release its party manifesto for the December 12 manifesto, and it promises substantial reform for the private rental sector.
The key private rental policies are:
- “help 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 renters under 30”;
- “promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes”;
- “improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing.”
The party gives no additional details as to how these policies would be implemented nor how much they would cost.
In addition, the party says that house prices are “too high” and the possibility of owning a home seems remote for many people.
It says: “We need to build 300,000 homes per year just to meet current demand, but are barely building half that amount. The Conservatives, looking back to the 1980s, have tried to solve the problem of unaffordable homes by extending Right to Buy, but that has only served to deplete stock and deepen the crisis in social housing. Liberal Democrats are looking to the future and will oversee a substantial building programme to ensure that everybody has a safe and secure home.”
The party manifesto adds that if in government the Lib Dems would:
- “Build at least 100,000 homes for social rent each year and ensure that total housebuilding increases to 300,000 each year”;
- “Help finance the large increase in the building of social homes with investment from our £130 billion capital infrastructure budget”;
- “Build new houses to zero-carbon standards and cut fuel bills through a ten-year programme to reduce energy consumption from all the UK’s buildings”;
- “Devolve full control of Right to Buy to local councils.”
Other housing-related pledges include:
- “Help people who cannot afford a deposit by introducing a new Rent to Own model for social housing where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years”;
- “Allow local authorities to increase council tax by up to 500 per cent where homes are being bought as second homes with a stamp duty surcharge on overseas residents purchasing such properties”;
- “Set clearer standards for homes that are socially rented”;
- “Require complaints to be dealt with in a timely manner”;
- “Proactively enforce the regulations that are intended to protect social renters”;
- “Fully recognise tenant panels so that renters have a voice in landlord governance.”
You can see the full manifesto here.