Liberal Democrats unveil housing policy: Abolish Section 21 and reinstate EPC targets

Liberal Democrats unveil housing policy: Abolish Section 21 and reinstate EPC targets

0:05 AM, 11th June 2024, About a month ago 22

Text Size

The Liberal Democrats have promised “to deliver a fair deal for renters” by abolishing Section 21 immediately and reintroducing EPC C targets for rented properties.

The party’s manifesto proposes making three-year tenancies the norm and creating a national register of licensed landlords.

For social housing, the party promises to protect social housing renters with a new rent-to-own model, allowing them to own their property in 30 years.

Thousands of renters at risk

Sir Ed Davey told the London Evening Standard, that renters face huge challenges in the housing market.

He said: “Across the country, thousands of renters are at risk of losing their homes at the mercy of exploitative no-fault evictions. The Conservatives promised to implement a ban back in 2019, but after five years of infighting, they have failed to honour that commitment.

“That is why Liberal Democrats today are announcing our fair deal for renters.”

Mr Davey says the Liberal Democrats are committed to building 380,000 new homes a year across the UK including 150,000 social homes.

The manifesto also includes plans to reintroduce the requirements for landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties to EPC C or above by 2028 which the Liberal Democrats claim will cut energy bills and end fuel poverty.

Promise to help social renters

The Liberal Democrats plan to help social renters with a new rent-to-own model will enable tenants who can’t afford a deposit to gradually own their home by turning rent payments into ownership over 30 years.

The party pledges to enforce clear standards for social housing. This includes setting strict time limits for repairs and recognising tenant panels to ensure renters have a say in landlord governance.

The party also pledges to abolish residential leaseholds and cap ground rents to a nominal fee.

Reaction to manifesto

Reacting to the Liberal Democrats manifesto, Nathan Emerson, chief executive officer, at Propertymark, said: “It is encouraging to see housebuilding targets being taken seriously within the first manifesto released, especially a realisation that more social homes are required so that people have access to a greater provision of housing.

“Propertymark has always believed that ground rents should be capped, so it is good to see that similar proposals are being referenced in the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto. It will be interesting to see what mechanism they intend to use should they succeed in ending no-fault evictions.”

When asked by Property118 about the method for abolishing Section 21, the Liberal Democrats stated they would legislate to end no-fault evictions but did not provide specifics on the mechanism.

Michael Cook, chief executive officer, of Leaders Romans Group, said the manifesto fails to address solutions to the housing crisis.

He said: “While the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto aims for a fair deal across various sectors, it unfortunately falls short of addressing the housing crisis comprehensively.

“The solitary focus on renters’ rights, essentially a phoenix of the unpassed Renters (Reform) Bill with a twist of mandating three-year tenancies, misses a significant opportunity. More robust and diverse housing policies are crucial to genuinely tackle the pressing issues faced by millions in need of affordable and secure housing.”

Imbalance of power with landlords

Generation Rent says whilst the Liberal Democrat housing reforms are positive, it is unclear on how they will work in practice.

Dan Wilson Craw, deputy chief executive of Generation Rent, said: “A commitment to ‘immediately’ ban no-fault evictions is a good first step.

“However, the commitment to three-year tenancies by default is confusing – it is not clear whether tenants could move home within the three years if their circumstances change, or if landlords would need a reason to evict at the end of the period.

“The abolition of no-fault evictions must be paired with open-ended tenancies to provide tenants with both security and flexibility.”

Mr Craw adds: “A national register of landlords is essential, with England the only UK nation without one. But by specifying ‘licensed landlords’ begs the question of whether the party would require all landlords to be licensed as well, or just apply the register to the roughly 7% of landlords who currently need a licence.”

Mr Craw says without rent caps, renters will continue to suffer.

He said: “The manifesto contains positive proposals with the potential to improve the affordability and quality of rented homes.

“However, without a more comprehensive offer of reform to renting, including limits to rent increases, renters will continue to suffer from the same imbalance of power with our landlords that has undermined our security for so long, and this must be addressed by the next government.”

Increase council tax for second homes

The party also plans to give local authorities new powers to control second homes and short-term lets.

The powers will include increasing council tax by up to 500% for second homes and a stamp duty surcharge on overseas residents purchasing these properties.


Share This Article


Comments

Ray Guselli

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

9:53 AM, 11th June 2024, About a month ago

One day, one of these Governments will come up with a novel idea.....
A fair deal for landlords

Beaver

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

10:18 AM, 11th June 2024, About a month ago

There's a thread here:

https://www.property118.com/election-dilemma-the-devil-you-know-or-dont/comment-page-3/#comment-176624

That says this: "Labour has said that Section 21 will be abolished and Section 8 Ground 1 (possession to sell or for the landlord or their family to live in) will be subject to a court hardship test, determining who will suffer more if possession is granted."

There's no way that I could vote for that as a landlord. It's communism.

So if this thread is correct, the liberal democrats say "abolishing Section 21 immediately and reintroducing EPC C targets for rented properties."

So that's abolishing section 21 before the courts are sorted out allowing you to get your property back when you need to. And I don't know any landlord who doesn't think that the EPC system in its current form is meaningless.

So it seems to me that if this thread is correct no landlord can afford to vote liberal democrat either as although the liberal democrats won't get into government as the ruling party they might well form some kind of alliance with labour.

JB

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

10:55 AM, 11th June 2024, About a month ago

Ed Davey said: “Across the country, thousands of renters are at risk of losing their homes at the mercy of exploitative no-fault evictions".
So exactly how many section 21 evictions are 'exploitative no fault evictions'?
Let's have your figures please - exactly how many section 21's are issued which aren't for rent arrears, property damage or anti social behaviour? Oh yes, I forgot no ones bothered to find out. Ed Davey, I am a landlord and I object to your defamatory rhetoric, please withdraw it.

Reluctant Landlord

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

10:56 AM, 11th June 2024, About a month ago

LD vote is a pointless X on the ballot paper. They have never been able to be taken seriously. They have a very childlike took on the world, and haven't quite worked out what reality is. Headed by a bloke who has never grown up. Bless them, the Liberal Dreaming Party.

Cider Drinker

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

12:20 PM, 11th June 2024, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Reluctant Landlord at 11/06/2024 - 10:56
I’ll be voting for the Party I feel is most likely to fix the UK’s migration problems.

They will not win because there are too many people who have benefited from the abject failure of previous governments to protect our borders. However, I’ll know that I did the right thing.

JB

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

12:33 PM, 11th June 2024, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Cider Drinker at 11/06/2024 - 12:20
Don't underestimate the number of people who want the migration issue tackled - it's probably similar to the Bexit vote which was 52%

Reluctant Landlord

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

13:06 PM, 11th June 2024, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by JB at 11/06/2024 - 12:33
but I can't see the majority of these voting Reform...?

JB

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

13:20 PM, 11th June 2024, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Reluctant Landlord at 11/06/2024 - 13:06
Why not? They followed Farage and will probably follow him again

Beaver

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

13:25 PM, 11th June 2024, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Cider Drinker at 11/06/2024 - 12:20
In this morning's news there was something about the conservatives letting landlords have a capital gains tax break if they sell to existing tenants:

https://www.morningstar.co.uk/uk/news/250190/sunak-announces-landlord-tax-bung-ahead-of-manifesto-launch.aspx#:~:text=Rishi%20Sunak%20has%20pledged%20a,move%20will%20be%20%22transformational%22.

This was presented as a "bung" for landlords. If it's any kind of a "bung" then it's insignificant compared to the "right-to-buy" your council house at an enormous discount funded by the taxpayer, as for example taken advantage of by Angela Rayner.

If it's true that this capital gains tax break is coming then on the basis of what labour and the lib dems have said so far, if you're a small portfolio landlord and you are not proposing to sell then unless you want to cut your own throat you can't afford to vote labour or lib dem. And as far as I can see, if you're a small landlord and you are proposing to sell and exit the market then you'd be best off voting conservative and getting the capital gains tax break. I have no knowledge of Reform policies, if there are any.

Of course, if you're an incorporated landlord, like Blackrock, then the capital gains tax break makes no difference to you as you are liable to the charge to corporation tax, not capital gains tax.

https://realassets.ipe.com/news/blackrock-outpost-to-invest-500m-in-uk-residential-assets/10056281.article#:~:text=BlackRock%20has%20formed%20a%20joint,completion%20of%20the%20residential%20units.

In my experience of large incorporated companies they are good at maximising prices and margins. By driving out small landlords all the main parties are driving out competition. The main parties don't want to talk about the Brexit vote, but the liberal democrats are committed to re-joining the EU over the longer term. Supply of housing isn't as simple as just controlling migration but the people who suffer most from unmanaged migration are the people at the lower end of the economic scale; most of these people are renters.

We've seen a number of commentators this week say that for many voters housing policy is right up the top of the agenda. Here's one example:

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/the-election-campaign-must-address-the-housing-crisis/

This blog says that it's not just about the supply of housing but also how we utilise existing housing stock. But at the moment all the main parties are busy driving out competition with their policies.

Not one of the main parties has a coherent long-term housing policy at present and that includes not the lib dems. But what they all need to do is stop driving out competition by attacking small portfolio landlords.

Cider Drinker

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

22:27 PM, 11th June 2024, About a month ago

The Tories have shown their true colours.

A Conservative vote is a wasted vote. If you want conservatism, vote Reform UK.

1 2 3

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership

or

Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now