Why the ‘landlord vote’ could make all the difference at the polls

Who will be walking through this door on Friday morning – and what impact will they have on the PRS?

With just one day left until the General election, private landlords could have a decisive role to play in choosing the next government.

According to data obtained by The Times from HMRC, (source: Landlord Today) in 124 UK constituencies, the number of people declaring income from property in 2017/18 was “the same as or larger” than the overall majorities of those candidates elected in 2017. Of these,14 are in London, 12 are in the South East, 11 are in the East Midlands, 11 are in the North West, 10 are in Yorkshire and The Humber, nine are in the South West, eight are in the East of England, six are in the West Midlands and three are in the North East.

Of these seats, 55 were won by the Conservatives in the last election, 39 were won by the Labour Party in 2017 and seven were won by the Liberal Democrats. In Scotland, 25 seats could see landlords decide the final results. The same is true for nine seats in Wales and six in Northern Ireland.

In these areas, the “landlord vote” could become very important tomorrow. So for anyone who is still undecided which box to put their cross in, here’s a reminder of the main parties’ policies on the PRS.

  • The Conservatives have pledged to scrap Section 21 notices for landlords, introduce a ‘lifetime’ deposit that moves with a tenant, ban the sale of new leasehold homes and restrict ground rents to a peppercorn rent. 
  • The Labour Party has promised to introduce a new range of tenants’ rights, including open-ended tenancies, government-funded renters’ unions, and will scrap Right to Rent checks. It has also said it will consider introducing rent controls in certain parts of the country and giving councils powers and funding to buy back homes from private landlords.
  • The Lib Dems will introduce a new Rent to Own scheme for social housing where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years.
  • The SNP wants to incentivise councils and individuals to bring empty properties into use, making them available to rent or buy.
  • Neither the Green Party nor the Brexit party has any specific pledges centering on the PRS.

Whatever your political persuasion, one thing is certain. Whoever finds themselves in No 10 on Friday morning, there are plenty more changes to come for landlords and their tenants. So let’s hope any new direction is carefully considered. The impact on landlords as well as their tenants must be taken into account if there is to be a positive outcome for the housing market as a whole.

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