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Category: government and politics

With Labour leading in the polls, landlords should pay close attention to what the potential leaders of the country are saying about housing during their annual conference. We take a look at their pledges, and the impact on landlords.

The Labour party conference was held in Liverpool from 8th to 11th October 2023 and, as ever, housing was one of the hottest political topics.

Both the Conservatives and Labour have made housing a focus, and with the next general election widely expected to be held next year, it is a strongly influential factor in the minds of the voting public.

A pledge to build 1.5 million homes

At the conference, party leader Keir Starmer announced that Labour would “Get Britain building again”, with a promise to build 1.5 million houses in the first 5 years, if they got into office.

In a speech by shadow housing minister, Angela Rayner, she pledged to build more social housing for people to rent.

Rayner has also said that Labour intend to free up funds for councils and housing associations.

This may mean that at least a portion of the homes pledged to be built will be intended for council housing – this would undoubtedly be a good thing, as the country is in the midst of a housing crisis. With more supply at this end of the housing sector, it could reduce some of the pressure of demand on other property types.

Private rental sector reforms

Turning to the private rental sector, Rayner referenced Labour’s already released ‘Renters Charter’, the equivalent of the Conservatives Rental Reform Bill, which was published during Lisa Nandy’s tenure as shadow housing minister.

Rayner backed up her predecessor’s pledge, saying that if Labour get into office, they would reform the rental sector, which would include a ban on no-fault evictions.

Whilst both the Tory’s and the Labour party intend to scrap Section-21 evictions, the policies do differ. Many argue that the Renters Charter by Labour is much harsher on landlords than the Renters Reform Bill is.

This is in part due to a pledge from Labour that the Renters Charter would allow tenants to make ‘reasonable alterations’ to rental properties, something that landlord owners naturally feel strongly about.

‘Speed ahead’ with net zero policies

Sir Keir Starmer mentioned in his speech that whilst Rishi Sunak wants to row back on net zero policies, Labour wants to ‘speed ahead’.

He was referencing the fact that Sunak has recently watered down a lot of net zero pledges, including the scrapping of minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) targets for rental properties.

With Starmer saying that he would have done things differently, does this mean that EPC targets could make a return, if Labour get into office?

For many people who have played witness to multiple general elections, it is well recognised that a lot can be promised running up to them in a bid to secure votes. Not all of it actually comes to fruition in reality. Commercial Trust will continue to monitor the ongoing debate to bring important updates to landlords.