A Labour landslide could be a better outcome for buy-to-let landlords than if the party wins the next election by a small majority, according to a leading property guru.
Ranjan Bhattacharya says despite the party’s MPs not getting some “scary” amendments to the Renters Reform Bill through, they have set a tone about the direction of travel.
“The problem Keir Starmer has is that he has quite a few Corbynista left-wing loons in his party,” explains Bhattacharya. “If Labour win with a relatively small majority he will always have to pander to what that Corbynista wing of the party has to say – that would be the worst outcome.”
Some Labour MPs suggested amendments included introducing a hardship test on payment of rent.
“Every single tenant who is in arrears would try to claim hardship and put up a case – that doesn’t make sense as you don’t have this in any other walk of life,” he argues. “There’s no hardship test for homeowners with a mortgage. Why should a tenant have more rights than an owner-occupier?”
Bhattacharya believes another “Loony Tunes” amendment was forcing landlords to give tenants first refusal when they came to sell. He says that this already happens in practice, but legislation would only bring about undue delay and confusion, particularly if a landlord was selling a block of flats.
Section 21 notices gave certainty, adds Bhattacharya, who says adopting these ideas could have more serious consequences for the housing market.
“The problem with all these ifs and buts is that the already overburdened court system will be snarled up with all sorts of spurious claims. If some elements were to come in, then many lenders may take a different view on lending – if they don’t have security over the assets they’re lending on, why should they put up the money?”