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Lib Dems’ confused message on housing

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Mandatory landlord licensing and rent controls are proposed in the Liberal Democrat election manifesto, out today. 

While the association has welcomed plans for a new ‘Help to Rent’ scheme and proposals to lift the freeze on LHA rates, it says licensing will not work.

It has also branded plans to link rent increases to inflation ‘bizarre’ with the most recent figures showing current rises are lower.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto pledges to: 

  • Allow local authorities to increase council tax by up to 500 per cent where homes are being bought as second homes with a stamp duty surcharge on overseas residents purchasing such properties.
  • Help 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.
  • 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.
  • Improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing.
  • Reducing the wait for the first payment of Universal Credit from five weeks to five days.
  • Increase Local Housing Allowance in line with average rents in an area.
  • Increase minimum energy efficiency standards for privately rented properties and remove the cost cap on improvements.
  • End the hostile environment policy for immigration (which would include the right to rent).

David Smith, RLA Policy Director, said: “We welcome the Liberal Democrats’ plans to support younger tenants in accessing rented housing with a deposit loan scheme. 

“This is a policy we have long been calling for and believe 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. 

Bizarre

“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.

“Proposals to end the Local Housing Allowance Cap as well as ending the hostile environment for immigration are welcome steps and reflect proposals put forward by the RLA in its own manifesto for the private rented sector. 

“However, the party’s plans for a blanket licensing scheme for landlords needs further thought. The crooks will simply not come forward, leaving the good landlords to pick up the tab for what would be a costly waste of time.”

More information

To read the Liberal Democrat manifesto in full click here.

The RLA has published its own six-point election manifesto highlighting the changes it believes are needed to create a PRS that works for all. You can read it here.

To find out more about recent statements from the three major parties on the issue of housing and PRS ahead of the publication of their manifestos click here. 

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

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