Editor: There are several well-documented, interconnected issues affecting the UK property market: the affordability crisis; the imbalance between supply and demand; empty and derelict properties; the planning system; and sustainability.
Undoubtedly, there is much for the next government to tackle. So, ahead of the next general election, it is worth considering how the Conservatives and Labour are setting out their stalls.
This week, the Conservative Party took the Renters Reform Bill through its second reading in parliament amid controversy over ‘no-fault’ evictions.
Touted as the most significant reform to the private rented sector (PRS) in three decades, the bill aims to enhance tenants’ rights by eliminating ‘no-fault’ evictions and ending fixed-term tenancies. However, the bill also facilitates evictions for legitimate reasons.
Elsewhere, housing minister Rachel Maclean acknowledged the pressing need for more homes but offered limited proposals outside suggesting reform was needed.
On this front, Labour – 20 points ahead in the polls – laid out more ambitious plans, with leader Sir Keir Starmer promising to build 1.5 million homes, emphasising planning reforms and changes to the Affordable Homes Programme.
These reforms focus on Section 106 agreements and encourage private sector involvement in construction. However, some experts believe the plans may have a negligible impact on house prices and affordability.
For the PRS, Labour’s commitment to the Renter’s Charter – which also abolishes no-fault evictions – drew some criticism for its perceived harshness on landlords.
It’s important all stakeholders – landlords, investors, developers, lenders and so forth – consider how the touted reforms and policies could affect them. Collaboration will be key.
Paresh Raja, chief executive, Market Financial Solutions