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With just a few weeks to go until the general election, all eyes are on the UK’s political parties. Everyone wants to know where each one stands on the big issues and also their plans for the future of the UK.

The housing market is a hotly debated topic with each party promising to end the housing ‘crisis’. Here at InventoryBase we’re watching the unfolding scenes carefully to see what the politicians will do to the rental market and how their plans will impact landlords, agents and tenants.

Firstly the Liberal Democrats. They’ve announced plans to provide government loans for tenancy deposits to help young people rent their first home.

The “Help to Rent” scheme could see people aged between 18 and 30 able to borrow up to a maximum of £2000 to use as a deposit for rented accommodation.  These loans would then be paid back over an agreed period of up to 24 months.

Nick Clegg, said “You’ve got this generation that is sometimes called ‘the clipped wing generation’, or ‘the boomerang generation’, of an increasingly large numbers of youngsters – I think the estimates are now about 2m people in their 20s and 30s – who simply can’t find the money needed for a deposit to rent a flat or home of their own.”

“They simply can’t find the up front costs to move into rented accommodation, so move back or stay with their own parents. That’s obviously unfair on them, because it means they’re just not getting their feet on the rung of the rented property ladder.”

To be eligible 18 to 30 year olds must be employed and not own any properties.

Clegg said the policy would not “cost the government much in terms of year-in, year-out expenditure” and said that, as it was a loan, it counted as an asset not a liability, so the loan would not count against the national debt.

“For those parents who want their kids out of their hair, it will give them their own home back and for those parents who want to downsize, it frees them up as well,” said Clegg.

“It’s trying to address the barriers to market entry, the up front costs, much like we are trying to address the up front costs of a deposit on a mortgage.”

The Lib Dems “Help to Rent” scheme is part of an overall housing plan including a “rent to own” initiative and the building of 300,000 new homes.

So what do you think?

Talking to the folks in our office the majority seem to feel worried about giving young people more debt before they’ve even got going in life.  Debt is one of the biggest causes of stress and to start young people on the journey of independence by owing the government money seems a poor way to start.

Also the deposit on a property provides a level of security between landlord and tenant. If a tenant has worked hard and saved for their deposit they will really feel the value of the amount of money tied up in their home. It could encourage them to look after the property to ensure they get the full amount back. If on the other hand they’ve borrowed the money and it’s all gone through electronically – there is a danger that the tenant won’t feel the same value of the deposit and could potentially have less respect for the property.

But on the flipside, some of the team here want to see something happen to give first time renters a chance. The average deposit now is six-weeks rent which can be almost impossible to pull together for some people. More and more young people are living with their parents and holding off from getting out into the world and finding their own feet – so perhaps a small loan like this is a good thing.

As the party politics continue over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at each parties plans for the rental market and trying to see what each one is really offering. In the meantime we’d love to hear from you about what the Lib-Dems “Help to Rent” scheme means to you and your opinions on it.

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