Liberal Democrat’s Manifesto:

Unlike Labour, “For the Many (tenants), and Not the Few (landlords), the Lib Dems have come up with a much more palatable set of proposals as far as private landlords are concerned.

The Lib Dems say that they will:

“Help people who cannot afford a deposit by introducing a new “Rent to Own” model where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years.”

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Can’t see any objections here so long as the arrangement is agreed with the landlord first and there is no compulsion. In any case I presume this applies mainly to social housing – housing association properties.

“Improve renting by banning lettings fees for tenants, capping up-front deposits, and increasing minimum standards in rented homes.”

A ban on letting fees is already on the cards with the current government. Capping deposits is another matter. Depends on at what level? Landlords want an adequate deposit, especially if the tenants have pets. On the other hand, deposits are already in effect capped at two rent period’s level, as taking more money would in law be recognised as a rent premium, which would give tenants a right to assign the lease.

“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.”

Would seems to be pretty similar to the Conservative’s existing scheme?

“Give tenants first refusal to buy the home they are renting from a landlord who decides to sell during the tenancy at the market rate according to an independent valuation.”

Most landlords would not object to this, in fact many would welcome a tenant taking the property off their hands at a market price when they decide to sell!

“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.”

Landlords generally are not against longer tenancies, and many would welcome them so long as they are not compulsory. Many tenants on the other hand actually prefer to not be committed, and want a short tenancy such as 6 or 12 months. Again, most landlords would not object to index linked rent increases. In fact many would welcome this as they would actually benefit – many landlords are loathe to increase rents for good tenants for fear of triggering a move.

“Improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing and allow access for tenants to the Database of Rogue Landlords and Letting Agents.”

Responsible landlords want to see the rogues driven out, but they object to paying licensing fees when they simply fill the coffers of a cash strapped local authority, and they see no real action taking place against offenders.

Tom Entwistle, Editor, LandlordZONE®

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