The Tories still have a nine-point lead with just over a week to go until the general election on 12 December.
If you support the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats you probably want the election to be all about Brexit; if you’re backing Labour, probably anything but.
But either way, the underlying tactical battles of this election for many landlords will be a crucial issue: housing, and in particular the PRS.
New reseracah by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) suggests that the votes of private landlords could be pivotal in deciding the outcome in more than 100 constituencies.
Fresh analysis of data obtained by The Times from HMRC has found that in 124 constituencies across the UK, the number of people declaring income from property in 2017/18 was the same as or larger than the overall majorities of those candidates elected in 2017.
The figures reveal that of these seats, 55 were won by Conservatives, including those of the Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland in South Swindon, the former Conservative Party Leader, Iain-Duncan Smith in Chingford and Woodford Green and the Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers in Chipping Barnet.
Some 39 of the seats identified were won by the Labour Party in 2017, including in Shadow Transport Secretary, Andy McDonald’s seat in Middlesbrough, Shadow Scottish Secretary, Lesley Laird’s seat in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and in Labour’s most marginal seat of Kensington.
Among the seven seats won by the Liberal Democrats in 2017 in which the landlord vote could be decisive are the seats of Westmorland and Lonsdale, held by the party’s former leader, Tim Farron, and Kingston and Surbiton, won at the last election by the party’s Deputy Leader, Ed Davey.
The statistics show that of those constituencies in which the landlord vote is the same as or larger than the majorities won in 2017, 14 are in London, 12 are in the South East, 11 are in the East Midlands, 11 are in the North West, 10 are in Yorkshire and The Humber, 9 are in the South West, 8 are in the East of England, 6 are in the West Midlands and 3 are in the North East.
In Scotland, 25 seats could see landlords decide the final results. The same is true for 9 seats in Wales and 6 in Northern Ireland.
David Smith, policy director for the RLA, commented: “Private landlords could be decisive in who ends up in Downing Street following the election.
“For those unable to afford a home of their own or unable to access social housing the rental market is their only hope of having somewhere to live. With that in mind, we call on all political parties to do more to support good landlords to provide the homes to rent we need.
“That is why all parties need to do more to enforce the wide range of powers already available to root out criminal landlords rather than introduce new obligations which have no hope of being properly enforced by hard-pressed councils.”