Belvoir, one of the UK’s largest property management agencies, predicts that Labour’s pledge to introduce new anti-landlord rental policies could result in up to a million tenants losing their rental properties.
“I am shocked at Ed Miliband’s proposals and his decision to ignore industry experts who have issued dire warnings about the unprecedented suffering that his party’s policies are likely to cause to tenants,” said Dorian Gonsalves, Belvoir’s Director of Commercial and Franchising.
“Under a Labour Government, landlords will be forced to commit to three-year tenancies and banned from raising rents above inflation. You don’t have to be a mathematician or property expert to work out how deeply flawed these policies are.
“There are currently eleven million people renting property in the UK, which amounts to about 20% of the population and includes 1.5 million families with children. There are around four million rental properties available and if just 10-15% of landlords decide to withdraw from the rental market because they are uncomfortable with Labour’s proposals and feel unable to manage their risks – particularly when mortgage rates rise – these homes will no longer be available.
“I would like to know where Ed Miliband suggests these tenants should live? These tenants will either become homeless or face the appalling consequences of having to move in with family and friends on a long-term basis.
“Looking at housing proposals for new builds from all the main parties, the most that any party has pledged is 300,000 properties in the next five years and clearly this figure will not even begin to satisfy current demand, which is the reason that we’re facing a housing shortage.
“We should not forget that it was the Labour Government’s incompetence that contributed to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, which resulted in a credit crunch that has left millions of people unable to obtain mortgages or save for a deposit to buy their own home. It is therefore very shortsighted and totally irresponsible of Labour to introduce policies that will drastically reduce the number of available rental properties.
“Landlords are very tired of being made to look like criminals who are constantly looking to rip off tenants and provide low quality housing. In our experience, 99.9% of landlords are decent people that provide decent housing for tenants on a long-term basis. Belvoir’s rental index confirms that in most parts of the country there has not been the major rental increases that Ed Miliband speaks of. However, if we look back over the past five to ten years and apply Labour’s proposed inflation rule for rental increases to many parts of the UK then tenants would indeed be paying much higher rents than they are today.
“Labour’s proposals are full of loopholes and have clearly not been thought through, but merely put forward as a way to attract votes. One thing is certain – Labour’s policies will not raise standards or increase tenant security. They are likely to cause a housing crisis that will result in millions of people left with nowhere to call home.”