June 2024

When the Prime Minister announced a snap General Election, it was the catalyst for chaos. Although the general public knew a vote was needed before the end of the year, the election's early timing took many by surprise.

One person raising an eyebrow was Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove. After working hard to progress the Renters’ Reform Bill, Gove saw the legislation abandoned during the ‘wash up’ period before Parliament was dissolved.

What did squeeze through and gain Royal Assent was the Leasehold & Freehold Reform Bill. The legislation was somewhat watered down in the rush, with the proposal to remove ground rent for existing leaseholders - or cap it at £250 - dropped. In the fall out, Gove announced he would not be standing at the election.

The manner at which the Bills were handled, together with the speed of the election, has left many landlords questioning their future. Government reforms, such as the scrapping of mortgage interest tax relief by Chancellor George Osborne in 2015 and this year’s abolishment of the furnished holiday lettings tax by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, can put landlords out of business, so this year’s vote is critical.

Despite some of the most punitive rental reforms being instigated by the Conservative party in the last 10 years, it appears landlords fear a Labour Government more. The results of a poll by specialist lender Landbay discovered only 12 % of landlords planned to vote Labour.

This compares to 31% who said they’d vote Conservative and a minority of 5% who intended to vote Liberal Democrat. One comment collated during the research described Labour as ‘anti-landlord”, with 48% of participants having concerns about a potential change of Government.

Many property investors are finding themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, with 41% undecided on who to vote for. Some landlords said their vote will go to the party prepared to reduce the heavy tax burden today’s landlords face.

There are a matter of weeks for the parties to win votes. One battleground will be a revived Renters’ Reform Bill. If the Conservatives remain in charge, the legislation may be resurrected in its existing form – with Section 21s scrapped only after a restructuring of the court system. Is this the lesser of two evils?

Labour is keen to push through its own rental reforms if they sweep to power. The party is vehemently against ‘no fault’ evictions with Angela Rayner, Labour’s Deputy Leader, previously stating Section 21s would be banned from the ‘first day in office’.

Also part of Labour’s vision is a Decent Homes Standard – a topic LandlordBuyer has previously written about, together with the party’s tough stance on mould in rented properties.

Another contentious Labour policy would be the scope to introduce selective rent caps. Its Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, has flip flopped on this point over the months but in May, she suggested rent controls may be introduced in local areas, but ‘only under the right circumstances’. Conversely, the Conservatives disagree with rent caps.

The Labour party also wants to reinstate the drive for more eco-friendly housing. While the Conservatives scrapped the proposed requirement for landlords to upgrade their properties to a C EPC rating , Labour would reintroduce this measure and expect all households to meet this benchmark ‘within the decade’, with privately rented homes potentially having to achieve the standard in a quicker time frame.

Landlords should also ponder Labour’s plan to restrict who can buy newly built homes. It wants first-time buyers to get first refusal on brand new properties – edging out landlords who sometimes favour these energy efficient, low maintenance units.

Also spoken about by Labour is a plan to end automatic eviction for rent arrears, the introduction of a four-month notice period for landlords, making it easier for tenants to keep pets and alter the property, and a scheme to create more portable tenancy deposits.

Landlords wondering whether Conservatives will soften their stance on private property investment will be listening intently. While the party will no doubt pledge to build more new homes (sadly, it’s not met its self-imposed housebuilding target for years), landlords will want to know if they’re being edged out in favour of Build to Rent.

At the moment, LandlordBuyer thinks it’s a case of ‘as you were’ if the Conservatives remain in power, with a largely unchanged Renters’ Reform Bill resurfacing after the election. The party will hope its stance against compulsory licensing and rent caps will curry favour among landlords. Buy-to-let owners are, however, hoping for a reverse of the Section 24 tax change and a more lenient stamp duty rate for additional property purchases to persuade them to vote blue.

Housing policies will be crucial ahead of the 4th July, so expect vote-winning announcements in the coming weeks. If you’d like to discuss your investment options now or after the election, please contact LandlordBuyer.

Quick guide to voting

  • If you are not registered by want to vote in the General Election on 4th July 2024, register here by 11:59pm on 18th June 2024
  • Have your National Insurance number ready when you register (although you can still vote without this)
  • Take photo ID with you when voting on 4th July – a photocard driving licence or passport are ideal

« Older item Back

Get your free CASH offer and enter your details for an instant, no obligation offer for your property
Please search for the address of the property you wish to sell, not your home address Got it