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General Election: Liberal Democrats reveal their manifesto property promises

The party has published its manifesto and, should it ever get into power, it includes several well-worn but also radical ideas to reform the private rental market.

Nigel Lewis

housing policies libdems swinson general election

The Liberal Democrats are the first major political party to publish its manifesto for the December 12th General Election. And should there be another hung parliament, then the LibDems have a fighting chance of making the ‘blue-sky thinking’ within the document into law.

Its online manifesto features three key housing policies which would have far reaching consequences, mainly for the private rental market.

These include some ideas poached off the government but also several radical policies that other parties have steered clear of.

General Election promises:
  • Helping young people into the rental market by establishing a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30.
  • Promoting longer, three-year compulsory tenancies and ensuring they feature inflation-linked and built-in annual rent increases to give tenants security and limit rent hikes
  • Introduce a national, mandatory licensing scheme for landlords to weed out rogue operators.

One policy not mentioned in the manifesto is a plan promoted on Twitter by its housing spokesperson and former leader, Tim Farron. In November he said the party would increase council tax five-fold for empty properties that went unoccupied for long periods of time.

“People are struggling to afford good homes in in the right location,” says LibDem leader Jo Swinson (pictured, top).

“House prices are too high and the possibility of owning a home seems remote for many people; the private rental market is expensive and insecure and there are not enough homes for social rent to meet demand.

“The opportunity for the Liberal Democrats at this election is huge. There are no limits to my ambition for our party as we take our positive vision for a brighter future to the country.”

Landlords’ reaction

Link to Lettings news“We welcome the Liberal Democrats’ plans to support younger tenants in accessing rented housing with a deposit loan scheme,” says David Smith, the RLA’s Policy Director (left).

“This is a policy we have long been calling for and believe it could considerably improve prospects for younger people. This is tempered by the Party’s proposals for three year tenancies with rent increases linked to inflation.

“It is bizarre to be proposing this when the average length tenants have been in their properties is over four years and when private rents are increasing by less than inflation according to the Office for National Statistics.”

Read the manifesto in full.

 

November 21, 2019

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