The Liberal Democrats have launched their 2019 election manifesto, which sets out the polices the party aims to introduce should it win the general election next month.
The document contains pledges on a variety of subjects. But it is the party’s housing policy that many buy-to-let landlords will be interested in.
The Lib Dems will aim to tackle the housing crisis with tax changes, government-backed loans, and a housebuilding programme.
The party has pledged to build 300,000 new homes a year, which is the existing, target for England, while for tenants, there are plans to help with up-front deposit costs through a Help to Rent loan for all first-time renters under 30.
David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), commented: “We welcome the Liberal Democrats’ plans to support younger tenants in accessing rented housing with a deposit loan scheme. This is a policy we have long been calling for and believe it could considerably improve prospects for younger people.”
The RLA also supports the party’s proposals to end the Local Housing Allowance Cap as well as ending the hostile environment for immigration, which Smith describes as “welcome steps” and reflect proposals put forward by the RLA in its own manifesto for the PRS.
But the Lib Dems’ manifesto contains a number of pledges with both positive and negative implications for landlords, including proposals for three-year tenancies with rent increases linked to inflation.
Smith continued: “It is bizarre to be proposing this when the average length tenants have been in their properties is over four years and when private rents are increasing by less than inflation according to the Office for National Statistics.”
Smith also believes that the party’s plans for a blanket licensing scheme for landlords needs “further thought”.
He added: “The crooks will simply not come forward, leaving the good landlords to pick up the tab for what would be a costly waste of time.”