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Is a change of government Starmergeddon for Britain’s landlords? 

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.

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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 *

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  • Shane  Campbell

    Vvv

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    I am still nervous, Labour promised for years the billions they had set aside for a green revolution 😂😂 we of course have just had the mother of all u-turns on that. I doubt they can resist ripping us apart, whatever the consequences 😬🆘🫣

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    I agree Simon. We will be the perfect headline of what a great job they are doing while they destroy everything else. Easy target ,easy win.

     
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    I am afraid it's sequestration of one's property. An awful lot of people just won't pay their rent if they can't be evicted. The conservatives have abandoned us so we are ripe for being screwed.

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    The only hope we have is if the Blair’s Tony & Cherie (who have a large rental property portfolio) invite kier starmer over for lunch at there palatial estate and butter him up with cheese and red wine in landlords favour before Angela rayner invites him over to the council estate and butters him up with cider and French cigarettes 😉😁

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    There may be a faint possibility they learn from the apparently large increase in s21 notices being served, due to past landlord bashing and now the RRB proposals. For which they will be left picking up the pieces, somehow (no idea how they might).

    Though their ideology would be the socially rented sector instead of the PRS, even if they can, it will take years to build enough; and where will they get the money from anyway?

    One time to wish for the mother of all flip-flops.

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    The simple answer is yes landlords should fear a Labour government. But then again so should tenants when they either find their rent increasing substantially or being asked to leave as landlords sell up.

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    I am nervous about their ratification of Section 21. Will Labour take away the landlord’s right to sell or move a family member in. Without that the tenant has a lifetime tenancy. I wouldn’t put it past them to give tenants Right to Buy in the PRS.

    David Saunders

    Any landlord relying on saying they wish to sell or move a family member in to regain vacant possession after the RRB is passed should try putting a bit more water in whatever it is they are drinking, also with Angie and the unions in control come Starmergeddon as per the 1970s when Scargill and the unions told Prime Minister Wilson when and how high to jump, PRS can look forward to rent controls regardless what is and has happened elsewhere.

     
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    If that happened lenders would pull out of the buy to let mortgage market, mortgaged properties are jointly owned by lender and landlord, it would screw the whole business model

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    If we thought that Gove and the faux-Tory government were bad, just wait till Sir Kneel gets power. He only cares about one thing at the moment - VOTES.

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    Landlords have just become a popular hate target for the small minded and even though the sector is not at an attractive investment anymore this has created higher rents and made things far worse for the people that rent and no easier for the people that want to buy. The worse things get the more hate towards landlords there is, accept it doesn’t solve any problems apart from keeping the simple minded happy that they have somewhere to point the finger. That’s how stupid things have got. They have no answers for much at all and just like to put anyone else down that might appease the angry mob. It very tiring!

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    I'm not necessarily inclined to vote Labour and live in a part of the country that is almost certain to retain a Tory MP, so my voting intentions are fairly irrelevant. However, I don't think Labour could make a bigger mess of housing than the current government.
    BTL was highly successful for both landlords and tenants under the Blair government. It was something the working class in grubby hands-on jobs could buy into. I was a single parent taxi driver when I got into BTL.
    A significant number of my colleagues had BTL portfolios. Just about every tradesperson had already bought or was in the process of buying multiple BTLs. It was a great alternative to a traditional pension scheme for the self employed. It's bizarre that it florished under a Labour government and has been largely destroyed by a Tory one.
    Corbyn's proposed CGT policy was vastly superior to the current system.

    Ultimately people need a roof over their heads. Different types of housing tenure suit different people. There's plenty of demand for PRS, Social or owner occupied housing. All 3 types are equally valid and largely feed from eachother. Before the war on landlords phase one of new developments were largely bought off plan by landlords. This provided the ability to raise funding to build the Social Housing on the new estates and provided something tangible for prospective owner occupiers to see.

    A great many people can't afford or don't want the commitment of buying a house. Affordability multiples mean they can afford to rent somewhere bigger and better than they could get a mortgage for.

    Not everyone wants to be a Social Tenant. Spending years on a waiting list or accepting a property miles from work, schools and family doesn't appeal to a lot of people.

    That leaves the PRS. Bigger and better homes on someone's income and available within weeks instead of years, in a location that suits. Whichever government we get needs to realise it's an industry that should be nurtured and encouraged, not bled dry. It's financially illiterate to over tax us to the point we have no choice but to sell and then pay significantly more for hotels and temporary housing.

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    Any landlord voting for Labour is like gays voting for Hamas.

     
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    Personally I think this is a very important article in the fact that it’s so mistaken. Starmer is as left wing as Corbyn but hides it well. They will attack wealth, property and success with a fervour we have never seen. Rachel Reeves will not stand in their way. You can see this by their rhetoric on private schools despite all of the evidence they will go ahead as it’s an attack on perceived privilege.
    I hope I am wrong but starmer is no blair

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    Be worried, very worried, as someone said, he will do anything for votes. Needless to say all the scroungers and soft headed will vote Labour.

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    All governments need a bogey man to blame things on. For the Tories its been immigration. For Labour it will be private school toffs and scum landlords. Labour's advantage is there are far fewer private landlords to lose votes from than imigrants.

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    The Costs of landlording driven by Shelter’s inflammatory language driving out Tenants by calling for the Removal of Section 21 making Private Landlords Business dysfunctional. Its totally irresponsible for an Organisation with Charity Status that houses no one to stoop so low, cause so much Homeless and suffering among 11 million Renter’s that rely on Private landlords to House them with their own private finance.
    OK who’s running the Country the Government or non- elected Shelter.
    So if they don’t want a PRS fine close us down which is what they appear to want, then what next will 11m renter’s turn up on Shelter’s door step, the Civic Centres or Social housing providers that can’t cope and overloaded already.
    Hardly any need to mention the Mammoth rampant rise Council’s introducing New licensing Schemes costing Private Landlords billions of £’s looks like 2024 is set to be a bumper year for Re-Possession’s, Homelessness and Negative Equity.

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    We Landlords have Rent Controls already in case you haven’t noticed in the form of Licensing Scheme’s & Taxation. Limiting our ability to make a profit from our rental, that is controlling our rental income.
    There’s plenty in that to sink us apart from any Renter’s Reform Bill.

  • Matthew Payne

    A Labour government will see the collapse of the PRS. Higher taxes, more red tape, more controls, RRB 2.0, will make the Tories look like pussycats. Landlords are far too easy a target to pass by for their core vote, plus raising a few quid. I know many many landlords who are keeping a close eye on the pollling and with interest rates about to come down kickstarting buyer confidence, a Spring 24 PRS clearout sale might well start.

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