Housing campaigning group Generation Rent (GR) is proposing a radical “market altering” approach and extensive restrictions on letting agents and private landlords to tackle what they claim is a crisis in the housing market.
In response to what they claim was that “None of the manifestos offered a coherent solution to the housing crisis” they are proffering for government their alternative Queen’s Speech:
“We have offered them a strategy which will jump-start the house building industry and create a fair deal for people renting”, they say.
Their document “A Queens Speech for Housing: what the new government can do to end Britain’s Housing Crisis” includes demands for a cabinet post of “Secretary of State for Housing”, protection for tenants when their landlord wants to sell their property, rent control and taxes on landlords to raise money for a public house-building programme.
Quoting the results of a survey from Survation finding that 63% of private renters want to leave private renting in the next five years, GR expect the government to introduce some radical measures to bring about change.
Their plan to end the housing crisis:
• Consumer protection through regulation.
• Weaning the nation off its addiction to capital gain in residential land and property.
• Investment in public housing.
• A Secretary of State and Ministry for Housing, including housebuilding, Housing Benefit, building and planning control, housing conditions, consumer rights in tenancy and construction skills.
• Rent Control. A nationally set Living Rent level with landlords taxed on their rental income above that level.
• £9 billion boost to social housing funded through the rental income tax (above) and streamlined distribution of housing grant.
• The abolition of no-fault eviction.
• Uniform minimum housing standards across social and private sector housing, with a national register of landlords.
• Additional fines on rogue landlords payable to Councils to fund enforcement and rent repayment orders to tenants to incentivise reporting of landlords.
• Planning liberalisation where it will deliver social or low cost housing in sustainable, mixed communities.
• A secondary, bubble-free housing market where homes are sold at cost price rather than at market price.
• Regeneration of estates based on community aspiration and vision and the protection of tenant rights in regeneration programmes.
• A £3 billion Housing and Infrastructure Investment Bank, capitalised with tenancy deposits and returning profits to tenants. ISA-style tax breaks for tenants who top up their savings.
• Consumer protections for tenants including ban on letting agent fees, outlaw income discrimination, transparency on essential information and deposit protection reform.
• Bank regulations to outlaw mortgage terms that inhibit tenant rights.
While landlords may well agree with a few of these proposals, most would be condemned as unworkable, and many would argue that most of these proposals show a woeful lack of understanding of how markets work.
As an indication of likely reaction to this, the first comment on the GR website says:
William Ridgway commented:
“Rent control and tax on landlords: ” Excuse me ? Have u been living in a cave? The Tories have just been elected with a decisive majority, end of. They’re about as likely to do this as replace David Cameron with Ed Miliband. Not gonna happen. Look forward to price hikes and more renters for the foreseeable future. A large part of the Tory vote was protecting it’s assets (2nd homes).”
Generation Rent Calls for Radical Anti-Landlord Measures – http://t.co/ZFkDFFbX4h
— LandlordZONE® (@LandlordZONE) May 13, 2015