With the General Election being a hot topic for most today, we look at what the three main parties have lined up for the Housing sector.
Today’s the day – the General Election. So, what do the three main parties have lined up for the Housing Sector?
With Housing being a top priority in all agenda’s – here’s some of the main points lined to Housing from each main parties’ manifesto.
The pledge – ‘Homes for all’
The Tories have advised they plan to deliver 500,000 new homes by 2022. This is in addition to their previous promise of 1 Million new homes by 2020. This does mean they have begun to recognise that property is becoming unaffordable to most. They are also recognising the demand for more homes.
Where tenants are concerned, the Tories will look at what is on offer to ‘good’ tenants. They’ll look at how they can increase security for them and suggest that Landlords offer longer, more secure tenancies as standard.
Council Housing deals have been promised – but limited to those who will build ‘high-quality, sustainable & integrated community’ projects.
They are only looking to enter new housing agreements with councils who are ambitious, pro-development and looking to future proof their social housing stock.
Right to Buy will also make a comeback – with any new social houses, there will be a provision to sell them privately after 10-15 years – with a plan to pump the funds back into building further homes.
This will also provide a new level of flexibility to Housing Associations to develop their stock.
Homelessness is also mentioned within their manifesto – with a plan to reduce rough sleeping by half. They have also stated they will look to eliminate rough sleeping totally by 2027 with a ‘Homelessness Reduction Taskforce’ and by piloting a Housing First approach.
Leasehold properties were mentioned briefly, with a promise to tighten up unfair practises within leaseholds, considering issues such as increasing ground rents etc.
There was however, no mention of any provisions for older homeowners or first-time buyers specifically. They are in support of high-density housing such as mansion blocks, mews or terraced streets.
‘Secure homes for all’ – it can’t be any clearer.
Within their plans, there is to become a new Department for Housing – to deal specifically with the current housing crisis, ensuring housing is about homes for all – not just for the investors benefit.
Following the leak of a 43-page document from the Labour Party prior to it being finalised, despite the party refusing to comment – it gave us a good idea of what to expect.
Their plans include building over 1 million new homes – to include 100,000 council and Housing Association homes each year. The homes will be ear-marked for affordable rent, with the option of sale by the time the next parliament comes to an end.
There is also some good news for private renters. Labour are promising to introduce controls on rent increases, securer tenancies and new consumer rights. It’s been identified that unrealistic rent increases are the reason for families having to move to temporary accommodation – as well as being the reason that so many cannot save for a deposit for a house.
There were plans to enforce new three-year tenancies as the norm, with an inflation-linked cap on rent rises throughout the period.
The manifesto states that renters are currently spending £9.6 billion a year on homes which the government classes as ‘non-decent’ – as much as a quarter of this expenditure is paid out by Housing Benefit. Therefore, Labour are looking to make living conditions a priority.
The party are looking to bring in minimum standards, ensuring that all properties are fit for habitation. They will also provide support for tenants to take further action against rogue landlords that aren’t providing homes of a decent standard.
Further promises include homes built to a higher standard, and more long-term, secured tenancies.
They have suggested that the controversial ‘Bedroom Tax’ will be scrapped – saying this is a main cause of tenant evictions.
Restrictions put in place by Governments that stop councils building new homes will be ceased, paving the way for the largest council building programme for 30 years.
Only one in five council houses that has been sold has been replaced up to now – Labour will look to suspend the right-to-buy scheme and protect affordable homes for local people in need. Should councils put a like-for-like replacement plan in place, they can resume sales.
They declared to end the use of leasehold houses in any new developments – as well as backing (currently) unprotected from increasing ground rents by management companies.
They will also ensure that local plans look at the need for older peoples housing – making choice and downsizing options readily available.
Read the complete Labour manifesto.
‘Building more and better homes’ say the Liberal Democrats.
The Lib Dems manifesto states that they look to build new homes to ‘fill the gap’ left by the market. They want to deliver 300,000 homes a year – almost double the current level. They want to deliver half a million affordable & energy efficient homes by the end of parliament. They want to deliver the said homes through a government commissioning programme – building homes both for sale and for rent.
They say, “These new houses must be sustainably planned to ensure that excessive pressure is not placed on existing infrastructure.”
The Liberal Democrats want to reduce energy costs permanently by improving home insulation and encouraging renewable schemes. The average cost of heating a lighting a home now equates to over £1200 a year.
They would look to deliver measures to ensure at least 4 million homes are made energy efficient to a band C or above by 2022. Priority would be given to fuel-poor households. They would also look to restore the zero-carbon standard for all new homes – previously set by the Lib Dems but abandoned by the Conservatives.
Excitingly, they have vowed to deliver 10 new Garden Cities within England – providing a high level of new jobs, new infrastructure, energy efficient homes with plenty of green space.
They will look to end the Voluntary Right to Buy pilots that sell off Housing Association homes and the associated high value asset levy and lift the borrowing cap on local authorities and increase the borrowing capacity of Housing Associations so that they can build council and social housing.
With house prices and rent levels increasing at a much faster rate than wages the Lib Dems want to help people to find and keep a home of their own. They want to help those who can’t afford a deposit by introducing a new rent-to-own model. This will provide tenants an increasing stake in the property, with a view to owning it outright after 30 years. They will also release a new Help-to-Buy scheme to provide tenancy backed deposit loans for renters under 30.
They will promote longer tenancies of three years or more and an outright ban on lettings fees. There will be a cap on deposits, and a revision on the minimum required standards in rented homes.
The Lib Dems are looking to place a higher emphasis on policies and commitments for communities. They also are looking to scrap the ‘Bedroom Tax’ – whilst looking to make the best use of the housing supply by incentivising local authorities to assist homeowners to downsize.
The manifesto also went into detail over plans for greener homes, planning & local authority decision making.
Read the full manifesto here.
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