In a continuing war on buy-to-let landlords, Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has said he could give tenants the chance to buy their rented homes from their landlords at a discounted price. He stated that such a policy would be a “great and radical” solution to the “burgeoning buy-to-let market”
McDonnell said he hoped it would reverse the fall in affordable housing seen after the Thatcher government’s decision to allow council housing tenants to buy their homes. Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr McDonnell said:
“We’ve got a large number of landlords who are not maintaining these properties and are causing overcrowding and problems. In my street now… a third of the houses are right-to-buy, badly maintained, overcrowded. It’s horrendous. You’d want to establish what is a reasonable price, you can establish that, and then that becomes the right to buy.” The Government would set the criteria. “I don’t think it’s complicated.”
Although this is not yet Labour Party policy Jeremy Corbyn had raised the prospect of introducing a tenants’ right to buy policy back in 2015 and a report commissioned by Labour earlier this year recommends rent caps for buy-to-let landlords, indefinite period tenancies and an end to no-fault evictions.
Michael Fabricant a Conservative MP, a former vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, hit back on the policy, telling the MailOnline: “McDonnell has promised he would overturn the mixed-economy capitalist system if he came to power. This manoeuvre is just the start. It would decimate the rental market in the UK, creating a shortage of properties available to rent.”
Responding to McDonnell’s proposal, David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association said:
“Labour’s proposal would effectively kill off a large part of the private rented sector denying a home to many thousands of people. If there was to be any chance of this becoming law, there would be a mass sell-off of properties in advance.
“The RLA is all in favour of landlords selling to sitting tenants but it must be entirely voluntary. Anything else amounts to a form of compulsory purchase.”
The RICS’ latest Residential Market Survey can be accessed here It warns of rent increases as a result of the demand for private rented housing outstripping supply.