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Tories pledge to ‘re-balance’ housing market towards home ownership – and Labour to fine bad landlords £100,000

The Tories will help people buy and rent with the market ‘re-balanced’ towards home ownership, the Conservative manifesto declared yesterday. Meanwhile Labour is today set to unveil detailed new policies on the private rented sector.

The Tory policies – all widely leaked beforehand – contained no surprises but confirmed that if re-elected, the Conservatives will abolish ‘no fault’ evictions – a process already under way.

The manifesto, which devotes comparatively little space to housing, says: “This will create a fairer rental market: if you’re a tenant you will be protected from revenge evictions and rogue landlords, and if you’re one of the many good landlords, we will strengthen your rights of possession.”

It goes into no details as to how these would be beefed up. There is also no mention in the manifesto of reversing recent ‘landlord bashing’ moves, such as tax changes.

A new Tory government would also require only “one lifetime deposit” from tenants.

The manifesto will have major implications for the burgeoning deposit replacement market and also for how disputes are resolved at the end of tenancies.

The manifesto does not mention whether there could be a possible ‘topping up’ of lifetime deposits if the tenant’s first rental home was, for example, a studio but if the tenant progressively moved to larger and more expensive rental homes.

The manifesto also promises to encourage a new market in long-term fixed rate mortgages, which “will slash the cost of deposits, opening up a secure path to home ownership for first-time buyers in all parts of the United Kingdom”.

New homes developers will be used via the planning process to discount homes “in perpetuity” for a third of local people who cannot afford to buy in their areas.

The manifesto says that this could be used to prioritise key workers such as police, nurses and teachers.

Right to Buy will be maintained for all council tenants, while it will be “voluntary” for housing associations, with new pilot areas testing out the scheme.

Shared ownership will be reformed, and there will also be reforms to leasehold – all flagged up under the previous Tory administration. The Tories would also bring forward a Stamp Duty surcharge on foreign buyers, again already flagged up. There does not appear to be any other mention of Stamp Duty.

A new Conservative government would deliver at least a million more homes “of all tenures” over its lifetime, and they would be “beautiful, high-quality” properties.

The Green Belt would be protected and self-build encouraged.

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Labour meanwhile is today due to announce the detail on new policies which will “put bad landlords out of business”.

Jeremy Corbyn and housing spokesman John Healey will announce that all landlords must complete an annual property inspection, with all rental homes compulsorily meeting a decent standard.

It will be illegal to let homes without a rental inspection being completed and passed. Fines of up to £100,000 will be levied for a single offence, with landlords having to repay rent.

Labour would also cap rents in line with inflation.

Corbyn says: “Labour will be on the side of tenants and take on dodgy landlords who have been given free rein for too long.”

Healey says Labour would legislate in its first year.

By ROSALIND RENSHAW

Source: Property Industry Eye