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Majority of tenants unmoved by Labour’s housing plans

From Property Talk Live on November 13, 2014

Tenants in the UK have still to be convinced by the housing policies of the UK’s political parties, according to the latest research from the leading landlord association.

With just six months to go before next year’s General Election, six in ten (62pc) tenants say they are unsure whether any of the political parties will be able to tackle the UK’s housing crisis.

The findings will provide particularly bleak reading for Labour and Liberal Democrats, which are the only parties so far to clearly outline their housing manifestos. Labour plans to reform private renting with a raft of proposals, including default three-year tenancies and a ban on letting agent fees. The Liberal Democrats have vowed to end the so called practice of retaliatory evictions, introducing the Tenancies (Reform) Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament.

However, Labour will take some small consolation from the fact that more tenants (13 per cent) believe they have the right approach to housing than any other of the main political parties. Eight per cent of tenants think UKIP are best placed to improve housing, seven per cent say Conservative, three per cent think the Green Party have the right approach, and just two per cent say Liberal Democrat.

Carolyn Uphill, Chairman at the National Landlords Association (NLA), said:

“These findings suggest that as a vote-winning strategy, pitching to renters is falling flat on its face. Tenants are at best undecided, or worse, have no faith in the ability of any of the parties to improve private housing across the UK.

“Labour and the Liberal Democrats thought they had established a housing manifesto to win favour with Britain’s 9 million renters but it seems that their view of private housing simply doesn’t chime with the experience of the majority of tenants.

“It’s easier to attack an unpopular stereotype than deal with the complex reality of how housing is changing in the UK today.  We don’t need one-sided electioneering, we need the commitment towards a fair balance between landlords, tenants and agents, and a genuine partnership between the market, regulators and government.”

Richard Price, Executive Director of the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) said:

“These findings should serve as a wake up call for all the political parties and specifically Labour. The collective concerns voiced by the industry over their plans to reform private housing have been swatted away by the party, and this now indicates that their approach hasn’t really won any support from tenants either.

“There are legitimate business costs that letting agents will look to recover from tenants, but these clearly vary from agent to agent and some examples are far too high. What’s important is that fees are fair and transparent from the outset and that the tenant is aware of what they will have to pay, when and why.

“You can ban a fee but you can’t ban a cost, so while outlawing agent fees sounds like a simple solution, the difference will inevitably have to be recovered elsewhere – most likely as higher rents – and it won’t solve the issue.”

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Source: Property Talk Live