Rent And Housing: What Are The Main Parties Promising To Do For You?
The Debrief: The UK is in a midst of a housing - and renting - crisis. What are each of the main parties promising to do about it?
Living standards are a big topic for the election - everyone lives, don't they? But young people are particularly affected - badly - by the fact that there just aren't enough houses to go around. The average first-time buyer would have to earn £77,000 a year to live in London or £4q,000 a year across the UK, meanwhile rent prices are going through the roof (sorrynotsorry for that pun) because landlords have so little competition. So here's what the politicians (many of them second home owners) are pledging to do about it.
'We will unlock a Future Homes Fund by requiring that the billions of pounds saved in Help to Buy ISAs be invested in increasing housing supply.’ But if you don’t think you can buy a house yet/ever? ‘We will legislate to make three-year tenancies the norm, with a ceiling on excessive rent rises,’ means Labour plan to make it so that your rents can’t rise dramatically year-on-year and that you’ve got the stability of renting somewhere for a decent whack of time. There’ll also be a ‘national register of private landlords’ to keep tabs on them.
Ed Miliband is pledging to cap rents during the course of the standard three-year tenancies so they cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation. If a landlord wants to reduce rents, though (imagine!) there would be flexibility to do that.
Tenants will have a legal right to know what the previous tenant paid, which means you'll be in a better position to negotiate.
They're going to cut housing benefit for people aged 18-21: ‘It is also not fair that taxpayers should have to pay for 18-21 year-olds on Jobseeker’s Allowance to claim Housing Benefit in order to leave home. So we will ensure that they no longer have an automatic entitlement to Housing Benefit.'
The Conservatives have also ‘reinvigorated the Right to Buy which Labour had cut back, extending home ownership to a whole new generation of social tenants.’ As well as letting people in their council homes eventually own those council homes, they’ll also provide a ‘Help To Buy ISA’ oh, and will create a ‘Brownfield Fund’ which sounds gross but is basically building homes on places that used to be factories and shops and stuff.
The Lib Dems say they will boost funding to make 300,000 homes and planning conditions on new homes to ‘ensure homes are occupied, tackling the growth of ‘buy to leave empty’ investments from overseas. They'll also make sure there is ‘high-quality shared accommodation for young people’ and a ‘rent to own’ model where you could own your very own home in 30 years.
They promise to ‘Make renting affordable and possible again for young people…keep Housing Benefit for under 25s’ and also ‘take action on empty homes to bring them back into use’.
They’ll also explore what rent controls could do to improve renters’ lives, and changing the definition of ‘affordable housing’ so that it matches what people can afford instead of how much landlords are charging.
As well as ensuring 'local homes for local people', there will be a creation of affordable housing but a vow to protect 'rural communities and preserving our precious Countryside'. Oh, and some shops will be turned into affordable housing. That said, there's nothing in the manifesto on renting.
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