Next week we’ll begin to see some manifesto launches. In an ideal world, landlords and the private rented sector would not make an appearance in any manifestos. Despite promising stability, the Conservative government have proven themselves to be the arbiters of instability in PRS regulation over the past few years.
Minimum energy standards, further letting agent regulation on top of a fees ban, redefinition of HMO and minimum room sizes for mandatory licensing, quarterly digital tax returns, and mandatory CMP for agents are just some of the outstanding changes that are currently hanging over the sector with scant details forthcoming from the Government.
Lest we forget, it was also a Conservative government that introduced the infamous Section 24/restrictions on mortgage interest relief that will begin biting landlords’ financial stability soon. Strangely, the only party that suggested such a damaging tax policy in the 2015 election was the Greens, so do keep an eye out on their manifesto this time around for details of Tories’ next landlord tax change….
The Conservatives are very unlikely to U-turn on the policy until it begins its predicted damage to affordability of rents for tenants, not least because it raises money for the Government that it desperately needs. We’ll find out next week what else they have in store…
In what will likely come as no surprise to anyone, this week’s leak of the Labour Party manifesto also shows that Jeremy Corbyn has the sector directly in his sights.
To get the good news out of the way, Labour would exempt small businesses from HMRC’s Making Tax Digital requirements for quarterly digital tax reporting. It would also reintroduce the Landlord Energy Saving Allowance (which the NLA has been calling for a while now) to enable landlords to offset some energy efficiency improvements against income tax.
That is where the good news stops and the bad news begins:
- Rent controls – Capping rents at inflation
- Longer tenancies – Three-year tenancies will be made “the norm”
- Devolved power – More power of the PRS given to the Mayor of London due to “the particular pressures in London”
- Minimum standards – A new legal minimum standard to ensure properties are ‘fit for human habitation’
- New consumer rights for tenants – Empower tenants to take action against landlords who rent out sub-standard properties
These details come from the widely-reported “leaked” Labour manifesto. The official launch of the manifesto is expected next week.
The NLA is a strictly politically neutral trade association. We do not support individual parties and will provide analysis of each party’s manifesto once published.