I’m not especially political and certainly carry no candle for one flavour or another. I might argue that they’re all pretty disappointing in the end.
However, 2024 is an election year. In fact it is a ‘Super Year’ with a UK general election, a London Mayoral election, local council polls and, of course, the US Presidential race.
Inevitably therefore my thoughts and yours I’m sure, turn to the housing market landscape in the run up to the fight for Number 10 and the implications of either business as usual versus a change of guard.
Most money seems to be on a Starmer victory and so I will set out here what I think that might mean for us landlords.
First the bad news.
Sir Keir and his front bench will, I'm sure, seek to play to the audience a little and make an ‘example’ of landlords. The 40% of the UK population that do not own their home but rent one way or another are a key demographic and Labour will want to show that they are on their side. As such we can expect traditional left of centre values where tax is concerned.
No rolling back on removing tax relief on mortgage interest. Nor the reinstatement of capital gains tax normality whereby we are all treated differently to others. In fact I would not be surprised to see a higher rate of CGT on landlords’ asset disposal.
Ratification of Section 21 so-called ‘no fault evictions’ is a given.
As is net zero and the wannabe PM’s quest to reach it at lightning speed. You’re all going to be experts in heat pumps, cavity wall insulation and LED bulbs. But your environmental conscience will be suitably soothed as compensation for your expenditure for which your tenants will benefit financially ongoing.
And so the good news.
Rent controls are unlikely. In opposition, Starmer has stated his reluctance to match his London counterpart with such a move having seen, no doubt, how much of a wrecking ball it has taken to the supply of PRS stock in Scotland and Berlin where the policy has already been introduced. The devolved Welsh government following the SNP in doing so here is bound to cement the reality that it's a fool's errand with huge unintended consequences for renters.
Compulsory purchase of empty homes? No, that won’t happen. It’s simply too divisive and communistic. Left wing this Labour Party may be - but it is not Corbynistic.
The big question is on the economy. How will Rachel Reeves, if she becomes Chancellor, balance the books, pay down debt, ensure the growth that she has said she is committed to and without taxing higher earners and entrepreneurs until the pips squeak?
What will happen to unemployment, probably an even bigger chunk of Kryptonite tha interest rates - especially for renters. If unemployment soars, millions won’t have jobs with which to pay their outgoings. I say this with no agenda other than to state facts but no Labour Government has ever left office with unemployment lower than when it started.
Back to my quip about Corbyn. Be assured that Starmer is more Blair/Brown in his economics than the previous Jeremy C/John McDonnell partnership that preceded them.
I suspect that once in office New, New Labour will quickly start to realise how important landlords are in accommodating those that woeful social housing provision has failed. And it is for that reason that perhaps a Labour victory is not the Starmergeddon for Britain’s property investors that some might think.
See you on the other side.
* Marc von Grundherr is Director of Benham & Reeves Lettings and Estate Agents - and a landlord *
Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.