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General Election 2024: What are the parties’ pledges for the private rented sector?

With a general election due to take place on 4 July 2024, the leading parties have published their manifestos this week outlining what they plan to implement if elected. In this blog, TDS looks at the manifestos’ key policy proposals relating to the private rented sector.


Conservatives

As we previously discussed, the Conservatives had committed to reforming the private rented sector whilst in Government. These proposals were reflected in the Renters (Reform) Bill that the Conservatives’ manifesto commits to passing. To support this, the party would:


  • Reform the courts, so that they are prepared to manage issues arising from the end of Section 21“no fault” evictions; and

  • Strengthen the grounds for landlords to evict anti-social tenants.


Research from the TDS Charitable Foundation found that 68% of tenants would like to become homeowners. The Conservatives would support homeownership by:


  • Introducing a two-year temporary Capital Gains Tax relief for landlords who sell to their existing tenants;

  • Renewing the Affordable Homes Programme to deliver homes of all tenures;

  • Ensuring Right to Buy discounts rise with inflation; and

  • Continuing to reform the leasehold law by capping ground rents at £250 and making it easier to take up commonhold.

 

The party would also invest £6 billion to fund a voucher scheme for every household in England to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes. Other proposals include giving councils powers “to manage the uncontrolled growth of holiday lets.” For more information on  the party’s proposals on short-term lets during its time in Government see here.

 

Labour

Labour’s manifesto proposes to “immediately abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, prevent private renters being exploited and discriminated against, empower them to challenge unreasonable rent increases, and take steps to decisively raise standards”.

Whilst the party would review Right to Buy discounts, it would prioritise building new social housing and support an increase in home ownership by:


  • Bringing the leasehold system “to an end”, ensuring that commonhold is the default tenure;

  • Updating planning policy through “restoring mandatory housing targets” (particularly to ensure more affordable homes); and

  • Funding additional planning officers by increasing stamp duty.


Labour is also proposing new energy efficiency targets with an increase in standards for private rental housing. To support this, the party will:


  • Offer grants and low interest loans for insulation and other improvements;

  • Work with the private rented sector to provide further financing to accelerate low carbon improvements; and

  • Invest £6.6 billion over the next parliament to improve the energy efficiency of homes and cut bills for families.


Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats would immediately ban “no fault” evictions by “making three-year tenancies the default”. The manifesto also proposes a national register of landlords.


The party intends on raising energy efficiency requirements for landlords. However, it would introduce a ten-year “emergency upgrade programme, starting with free insulation and heat pumps for those on low incomes”. A subsidised energy savings scheme with tax incentives, loans and grants would also be piloted.


To support home ownership, the Liberal Democrats would also:


  • Develop 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; and

  • End residential leaseholds and capping ground rents.

 

Finally, funding for local authorities would be boosted to limit short-term lets and the so-called “bedroom tax” would be scrapped.

 

Green Party

In addition to replacing “no fault” evictions with “long-term leases”, the Green Party proposes rent controls with allowances for maintenance costs.


Although the party would end the Right to Buy, it would increase provision of social homes and give local authorities and social housing groups the first option to purchase certain properties at reasonable rates.


The Green Party propose investing £29 billion over the next five years to insulate all homes towards significantly higher energy efficiency standards. Over half of this investment would go towards privately owned homes. This would be supported by a local authority-led retrofit programme to provide non-fossil-fuel heating, and private tenants would be given the right to insist that their landlords access available finance for this purpose.


Finally, the party would establish Private Residential Tenancy Boards “for resolving disputes before they reach a tribunal”.

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