Landlords have welcomed the news that Labour has dropped its proposed ‘right to buy’ policy that would have allowed long-term tenants to acquire buy-to-let properties at discounted prices
The party was hoping to tackle what John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, recently described as “the burgeoning buy-to-let market”, with a view to introducing what it thought would be a fair way of redressing problems such as landlords refusing to invest in their properties.
But Labour has backtrack somewhat on committing to the idea that buy-to-let landlords will lose out when it comes to selling their properties to tenants due to growing fears that the policy was unworkable.
One party aide told the Financial Times: “I can see why John [McDonnell] was pushing it [the ‘right to buy’ tenant plan] but at the same time the practicalities got in the way”.
The news provides a level of vindication to those that oppose McDonnell’s plan, including the National Landlords Association (NLA).
Chris Norris, director of policy and practice at the NLA, commented: “To suggest that private landlords should be selling their properties to their tenants at a below market rate arbitrarily set by politicians is ludicrous. Landlords had to pay market rates themselves. It’s only right that, if and when they decide to sell it, they can do so at market rates.
“If Labour does indeed wish to fix the housing crisis, they should focus on encouraging the Government to build more social housing, which is what the housing sector is lacking.
“John McDonnell’s assertions that landlords are looking for a quick buck and don’t maintain their properties shows a serious lack of knowledge about how the vast majority of landlords run their businesses. These good landlords should not be punished for the sins of the few who fail in their obligations to provide tenants with a decent home.”