With just over a week to go until the General Election political leaders are starting to make new promises on top of their already published manifestos. According to recent polls there is currently no clear winner between the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Green Party, SNP and more, which is why these next few days will be crucial for all parties.
It is therefore not surprising to see that Labour’s leader Ed Miliband made a bold move yesterday by announcing that under a Labour government stamp duty would be reduced and rent prices could be capped for up to three years. These measures are a reaction to the current housing crisis affecting millions of people across the UK which has led to house prices soaring and a considerable increase in families turning to private rental accommodation.
Unfortunately, some families feel that living in private rental accommodation does not offer them enough security as their tenancies may only run for 12 months at a time. This becomes particularly problematic if a landlord chooses to increase their rent prices or asks their tenants to evict a property when they have children in nearby schools. In reality it’s not practical for any family to move home every twelve months as not only can it have a detrimental impact on a child’s development but also family life in general.
Mr Miliband said: “Generation Rent are the young, ¬families with children and middle-income earners who are being priced out of the market. Labour will build the homes which local people want to buy, but we will never turn our backs on Generation Rent and we want to encourage all those responsible landlords who provide decent homes for people and stable income for themselves.
“Too many people are struggling to meet the costs of putting a roof over their head. Some are saving for a deposit year after year, decade after decade, while the dream of owning their own home seems further and further away. Others are having to move all the time, ripping up the roots they have laid down at work or with friends, even having to change their kids’ schools. Labour has a better plan.”
Along with introducing three year tenancies, the Labour government has promised to build 200,000 new homes each year and reserve half of these new properties for local residents. Under the scheme, first time buyers who have lived in an area for at least three years will have a two month window where they will be able to purchase the new properties before they go on general sale.
Discussing his plans, Mr Miliband said: “There’s nothing more British than the dream of home ownership, starting out in a place of your own. But for so many young people today that dream is fading with more people than ever renting when they want to buy, new properties being snapped up before local people get a look-in, young families wondering if this country will ever work for them.
“It is simply too expensive for so many young people to buy a home today, saving up for the deposit, paying the fees and having enough left over for the stamp duty. So we’re going to act so we can transform the opportunities for young working people in our country. For the first three years of the next Labour government, we will abolish stamp duty for all first-time buyers of homes under £300,000.”
However, landlords are concerned over the moves as they say it could have the opposite effect on the housing and private rental sectors as landlords may have to increase their rent prices to cover the fact that they will be capped for three years. Furthermore, this could lead to fewer landlords entering the market at a time where there is a huge amount of demand, once again increasing rent prices.
Last month PropertyQuoteDirect published a campaign to ‘change the face of landlords’ in a bid to encourage landlords to speak up in the run up to the General Election. Policies such as the ones proposed by Ed Miliband require the expertise and knowledge of landlords to ensure that they have the desired effect, otherwise the housing and rental markets could end up in a worse state than before.