It doesn’t matter which Party wins – Landlords are in for a difficult time.

It doesn’t matter which Party wins – Landlords are in for a difficult time.

June 8th is fast approaching and we have already looked at each party’s manifesto offerings to landlords:

Conservative | Labour | Liberal Democrats | Green Party | UKIP

When it comes to the private rented sector, each party has an offering that would appeal to the tenant more than the landlord. With 20% of all households now living in the sector, a sizeable chunk of the electorate is being schmoozed with promises of pro-tenant reforms.

Importantly, unlike previous elections, all the major parties are seemingly in agreement on the main issues that need attention. For landlords, this could mean that no matter who wins on June 8th, the direction of travel for private rented sector policy is inevitable.

Landlord Taxation

Prior to the 2015 general election, NLA research showed that the majority of landlords (57%) would be supporting the Conservatives. Interestingly, over two-thirds (69%) believed that the Conservatives best “understood” the private rented sector. This is in stark contrast to the 8% who thought that Labour or the Lib Dems had the right vision for the sector.

However, as most landlords know by now (or will find out when they next calculate their taxes owed), the Conservatives stole Green Party policy by introducing the Section 24/”Tenant Tax” restrictions on mortgage interest relief. Whether this will have an impact on how landlords vote next week remains to be seen.

In bad news for landlords, no matter who they vote for, none of the parties are proposing the scrapping of this financially damaging (and in some cases ruinous) restriction. In fact, no party is proposing to do anything extra specifically on landlord taxation.

That is of course apart from the Green Party, which is proposing to help first-time buyers by “axing buy-to-let tax breaks”. While the Greens are quite unlikely to form the next Government, the Conservative’s record of imposing Green Party economic policy on landlords could prove worrying over the next few years.

Letting Fees to Tenants

The banning of charging letting fees to tenants has formed part of the private rented sector policy discussions for a number of years. At last year’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor took the wind out of the sails of Labour et al. with the shock announcement that the Conservative party will be interfering in the market and banning fees to tenants.

This policy was repeated in their long-awaiting Housing White Paper earlier this year, and their election manifesto simply states that they “will shortly ban letting agent fees”.

Pretty much every party agrees with Theresa May and has committed to the banning of fees in their respective manifestos (apart from UKIP). Letting fees to tenants are being banned, no matter the outcome next week.

The only point on where there may be difference between the parties is the extent to the ban – i.e. will self-managing landlords be able to charge prospective tenants for referencing fees. Incidentally, the Government’s consultation on its proposed ban closes tomorrow night (June 2nd).

Energy Efficiency

Improving the energy efficiency of housing stock, and the private rented sector housing stock in particular, is also a shared theme throughout the majority of manifestos.

From April 2018, regulations come into force that will ban landlords from granting new tenancies, or renew existing ones, for properties with an EPC rating of F or G. Although wide-ranging exemptions apply (such as the “no upfront cost to landlords” exemption), with the failure of the Green Deal on which these regulations were based the Government has committed itself to reviewing these exemptions.

Current Government thinking has a cost-cap at £5000 for energy efficiency improvements per property. As such, this could be a very costly review for landlords. At least Labour have taken one of our suggestions to ease the burden by promising to reintroduce the Landlord Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) to give landlords a tax break on energy efficiency improvements.

Longer-term Tenancies

Improving security of tenure for tenants will be the next hottest topic in the private rented sector, now that letting fees are being banned.

Most parties have promised action on it, although some policies are a tad more drastic than others. The Conservatives promised to improve protections for those who rent, in particular “…looking at how we increase security for good tenants and encouraging landlords to offer longer tenancies as standard.”

Labour proposed a more stringent scheme by promising to make new three-year tenancies the norm, with an inflation cap on rent rises”. Equally, the Liberal Democrats sought to “promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes.”

However, none of the parties have seemingly grasped the reasons why 6 or 12 month initial tenancies are more usual and why landlords are reluctant to offer longer tenancies from the start. No party is offering to ease the pressure on the courts and reduce the cost and time of repossession procedures, for example.

With such a political consensus across the parties on these key PRS policies, it almost seems inevitable that change is on its way, and it might not be a change that landlords will love. So, who are they going to vote for now?

27 thoughts on “It doesn’t matter which Party wins – Landlords are in for a difficult time.

  1. BREXIT trumps all. Vote Lib Dem. BREXIT = fewer jobs, lower income, more tenant defaults, less rent.

    1. I agree entirely. Brexit is what is going to hurt landlords the most therefore I am voting LibDem.

  2. I need to issue 20 sec 21s to tenants who have done no wrong but sec 24 has taken away my pension. I am 77 and have been a landlord with long term happy tenants for 30 years.

  3. I voted Conservative although, I am disappointed with their ‘Tenant Tax’ policy. I blame George Osborne. I never vote Labour as I don’t agree with their policies and they won’t be able to run the country. To me it seems like a joke that somebody like Corbyn until recently was asked to step down as the leader of the Labour Party to now become the potential Prime Minister. It is hilarious. God help us, more borrowing, opening the frontier and take a vote for every step we take in Brexit negotiations which is likely Brexit would take 20 years, more uncertainty. Labour is going to make it even harder for landlords than the Conservative Party. They have more grudge against this profession which provides accommodation to the rental sector.

    My real choice would have been UKIP but, I can’t vote for them as they have no chance to win.

    1. Shari: Your thinking seems limited to your ‘rights’ as a Tory landlord even though the Conservatives have obviously abandoned their traditional voter base to appeal to, well….it seems, nobody in particular. The tenant tax is a gimmick stolen from the Greens to appeal to the neo-liberals who are mostly well-heeled middle-class professionals, not landlords. The tax is a disservice to tenants too because it forces rents up. it is important that the rights of both landlords and tenants are equally met and only Corbyn has the intelligence and humanity to do that!

    2. I voting UKIP, if ppl vote for them they would win. I don’t want to vote for a party simply because I think they will win. I would urge you to reconsider and vote ukip

  4. In short, its a case of voting for the party you dislike least! Some good manifesto pledges from all parties but no outright winner. Although Conservatives have placed buy to let under siege recently and looking much less attractive any other party would be more draconian with their measures.

  5. I feel this is yet another ‘hold your nose’ election but I will vote, and rather unwillingly I will vote Conservative. I am hoping that they may start to see that without small, privately run business an economy cannot survive. All the current leaders seem to have misunderstood the value of small businesses and it seems our only hope is to keep telling them the value and importance of private landlords and hope the penny will drop. Well done NLA, keep fighting our corner and we will get the message across. I only hope we make the politicians realise what havoc they are causing before and not after the ‘deluge’.

  6. I voted conservative in the last election as I thought they might be a safer bet for landlords, and would be more business friendly. I want to keep my properties in good condition, and I want to keep my good tenants. I do that by promptly fixing any maintenance issues, making improvements, and not getting greedy with the rent.

    The phasing out of mortgage interest rate relief (not in the conservative 2015 election manifesto) will have the effect of forcing me to cut back on the maintenance, abandoning any improvements, and having to push up the rents to the maximum.

    I loose out, but the tenants will loose out even more!

    My property business is a “business” like any other, with income, expenses, and financing, and it should be taxed just the same as any other business.

    Because of the landlord bashing by the conservative government since 2015 I have sworn not to vote for them in the next election – I hadn’t expected it to occur so soon! Looking at the policies of the other parties I don’t think I can vote for them either, so I am likely to not vote at all this time round.

  7. I cant believe that people do not plan to vote at probably the most. Ritical general electionof our lifetime. May is the only obe credible to argue our. Orner during the Brexit negotiations and Labour are, as always, making promises which are totally unfunded. In reasing Corp Tax will drive companies out of business or leave the country. Madness !!!

  8. I’m really disappointed, I do feel really let down by the new policies which are crippling landlords.I’ve just been trying to be responsible and sort myself a pension with a second property which has been far from easy.
    It’s as if buy to let has become a criminal offence the way landlords are being treated!
    I’ve always been freelance and Ive worked hard since I was sixteen and I do have a private pension that went to crap and is worthless,Ive never had money to spend on nice things and holidays as Its gone on the mortgage and bills.When I die I really wanted to leave my four children with the family home having not been a burden on them( or the state). even that seems impossible with labour reducing the amount you can inherit.what are they thinking??
    Fine if you live outside London it may not be an issue but I am a Londoner and so are my children,I think it’s wrong you can’t just leave your family home to your children regardless of where you were brought up which they could live in .its going to drive more people away from their home towns , taking family property away will be creating even more instability in housing.they just seem to think of property as money and not as family security,their homes for their future.
    not a very good message to our younger generation is it? Work really hard, pay your way and lots of tax ,provide a home for your family and make a plan for your future,
    But then get stung left right and centre by the ever moving goal posts of government.
    I don’t think Any of the parties represent me and other people like me. I’m actually at a bit of a loss.
    My area is labour and that won’t change So even if I wanted to vote for another party it won’t make a jot of difference what I want.
    Just as I didn’t ask for Theresa
    Or Brexit

  9. I voted Lib Dem on the Brexit issue (nuff said) and because the Tories are threatening to introduce first past the post for Mayoral and London Assembly elections. For me the prospect of losing the fair vote in London was the final straw although I actually like our Conservative MP as a person. The Lib Dem vote was purely practical.
    The ‘evil landlord versus poor little tenant’ trope seems to have spread from the left across the spectrum. I have nothing against long term tenancies in theory (I have long term tenants) as long as there are safeguards for both landlord and tenant, based on a neutral concept of justice rather than a simplistic political narrative.

  10. With all other parties on such low ratings and hence “wasted votes” coming in to it the choice is now between Conservative and Labour if you want your vote to count. The first one got us into Brexit to make sure its MPs didn’t lose seats to UKIP and the momentum of this tragedy is rolling forward unchecked. Further these stewards do not engage with nor understand business – and have harmed our sector and expect to get away with no detail on what Brexit means. With the devaluation of the pound and businesses deferring or cancelling business decisions it already means tenants are poorer and the rental sector is depressed. Foreign investors who find the pound cheap are buying quality build to let investment property off plan depressing rents further and our building and maintenance costs are on the up. It is typical of swing voters to switch if economic conditions are getting worse so out of the frying pan into the Corbyn fire with rent controls and further tax hits and ultimately the inevitable intervention by the IMF. Feels like WW1 but in economic rather than military terms – pointless, harmful but inevitable. It will be over by Christmas!!!

  11. The influence that the PRS exerts upon those that govern the country is adversely out of all proportion to the importance that the sector is to the country. That is to say, without Landlords to provide accommodation to a necessarily mobile work force, the economy of the country would very quickly find itself in dire straits, and yet government after government are happy to gouge deeper and deeper into the profits of landlords. Why? Because we are a disparate group without a voice and have no meaning full representation at the top table, and as long as this remains the case we will continue to get clobbered by every chancellor who is looking for a cheap vote and an extra few pounds to pad out the coffers. Its time to Unite.
    So come on NLA, come on RLA, Southern Landlords, ARLA and all of the rest of those organisations out there doing little more than collecting annual subs, its time you got off your collective arses, unite under a single banner, gather us about you, and start to make a difference.

  12. I have voted conservative since I was old enough to vote. I will do so again but only because they are the best option we have I believe. Theresa May though is doing a very good job fighting Labour’s corner for them. A repeal of the fox hunting ban amoung other things to agree with 12% of voters and go against 88%! Who in their right mind in politics would talk about doing something that goes against the belief of 88% of the people you want to vote for you!!

    I’m actually a little on the fence of do I vote conservative or do I abstain. The conservatives have hit me where it hurts and are going against what I thought were core conservative policies. On balance though and with much wider issues than just the PRS, they are still the best choice.

  13. Labour will wreck Brexit and sell this country short – they will destroy Britain. Corbyn is not PM material and the hard left people around him are truly scary! Vote Conservative – they are the best of a bad bunch….

  14. I live in the Speaker’s constituency so this is the 3rd election in which I have no real choice. Have voted (postal) already for a local independent simply to record an anti Conservative vote, as Fingers Osborne and the slippery Dave have betrayed a large portion of their electoral base. I won’t even take a free copy of the Evening Standard now. Am 65 and never voted anything but Conservative but if they are going to punch us in the guts I’m going to punch right back.

  15. All of the Conservative landlord bashing will reduce the number of good landlords out there and leave rogue landlords who don’t play by the rules don’t pay taxes or make repairs. The more the government bashes landlords the worse it will be for tenants, more will find themselves on the streets.

  16. I think that any party who wants to bring in long term tenancies for all tenants is wrong. However, bringing in a long term tenancy for good tenants after an initial one year tenancy may be the way to go. Many landlords have suffered from a tenant who has no respect for them or their property and flouts the law to leave. Giving these people a 3 year tenancy from the start is senseless and will tie up the courts even more than today.

  17. All of the above and just to crown it 60 years old
    this year with a wait of 6 years before I get the pension I paid for!

  18. Last time the overwhelming majority of landlords voted Conservative. The Conservatives duly thanked landlords for their loyalty with removal of the wear and tear allowance, restriction on interest tax relief and the stamp duty hike. Letting fees ban in next up. Incredible to read that after all that a majority of landlords are still intending to vote Conservative. Get with the programme landlords, the Conservatives are now the party of big corporations not small business.

  19. all the tories have ever done is defend thier class, they are very good at it, but never vote for them. the money saved from leaving the e.u will be used to defend thier class, just as they did with north sea oil, tax concessions to the rich, lower corporation tax etc.

  20. The conservatives I feel are totally punishing the type of people they claim to represent! I mean with the taxing of dividends as well at £5k, my way around the new tax laws is by using a Ltd company for future properties luckily I don’t own enough for it to push me into the higher tax bracket.

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