Ed pledges to cap rent rises, extend standard tenancies & scrap fees

(136 Posts)
thevelvetoverground Wed 30-Apr-14 22:57:39

"At Labour's local and European election campaign launch tomorrow, he will pledge to cap rent rises and to extend the standard tenancy period from six months to three years. As well as this, he will commit to banning letting agent fees, promising to save the average new household £350."

www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/04/milibands-pledge-cap-rent-rises-smart-politics

Isitmebut Wed 07-May-14 16:17:40

Well not to cry too hard over spilt milk over the doorstep, we missed our big chance when we had the money to do something about it - and we are unlikely to see anything too creative and 'cheap' so soon after the worst recession in over 80-years and that huge population growth before hand - resulting in a double whammy of low private investment and rising prices, although outside London still just below 2007/8 highs.

- Private Sector building needs to be encouraged rather than threatened, not just the large builders, the small ones now around 50% less than in 2007/8.

- Building regs and red tape cut and putting applications through quicker.

- More land offered out NOT on flood plains.

Politically on the first two Labour only know how to do the opposite, but a 'brave' Miliband with SOME substance could get away with offering up more land e.g. green belt, due to their mainly inner city voter base.

I suspect a Conservative government in a second term could handle effectively everything that needs to be done to encourage/finance/build both private and public housing in increased numbers - but would not bring home prices down quick enough to make housing 'affordable' without building on 'green' land, which I believe would be a policy too far for a Conservative P.M.

Rent, energy or any other 'controls' in a tight market is not the way forward, it kills the market.

OldMrsSaucepan Fri 09-May-14 23:11:14

I suspect a Conservative government in a second term could handle effectively everything that needs to be done to encourage/finance/build both private and public housing in increased numbers

I would have to agree to differ.

smile

vitaminz Sun 25-May-14 18:43:45

The housing benefit bill is something like £25 billion and 40% of this is going straight into the pockets of private landlords via housing benefit. This is ridiculous. They could use that money for a mass social house building program. Instead we have the situation where full time workers earning a pittance are having to pay extortionate rents from their highly taxed PAYE jobs to fund the pensions/property portfolios of the older generations whose houses do all the work for them and they can even use tax breaks to reduce their tax burden. "Generation rent" are being royally screwed by the selfish generation who have benefited from cheap housing, great pensions at an early age, free education and continue to benefit from things like winter fuel allowance. It's completely topsy turvy. The younger generation is being forced into penury so the rentiers can live it up without having to work.

HoopyViper Mon 26-May-14 10:23:32

^ That's a perfect summary right there.

We are exceptionally lucky to have just been offered a Housing Association flat, having been evicted through ll selling up for the 3rd time in 4.5 years (7yr old and 3yr old DC).

The disruption to our lives has been immense; on top of DPs business struggling from first crash, my own health problems, caring responsibilities and DS1 struggling on an IEP at school.

This move is now costing the tax payer less in housing benefit as we will be down to receiving less than £10 per week, as opposed to the several hundreds a month we were given to keep a private rented roof over our heads. I think it's actually shocking that we have been propped up in this situation for so long. The LLs of course will be profiting very nicely from the £40K we and the state have given them over the last few years.

I don't care that we lose our lovely home and garden for a first floor flat (although am waiting for the stigma to kick in, I hope the DCs friends will be kind when they visit). At this point in time, stability from which we can plan our way forwards to save, and potentially buy is far more valuable.

Isitmebut Mon 26-May-14 13:56:53

Labour left a critical Energy shortage, so is looking to discourage Energy company investment with State control.

Labour left a critical 'earnings'/unemployment situation via a great recession and is looking to discourage business investment/jobs with State controls.

Here Labour is looking to solve a critical housing shortage by discouraging those they encouraged to become landlords e.g. killing Private Pensions, with rent controls.

Wouldn't it be 'nice' if Labour GOT IN FRONT of one of their policy problems, BEFORE trying to screw those propping the problem up??????

When Labour tells us how they will build 200,000 new homes a year (never mind put break ground), when during mass immigration they could only build an annual average of 115.000 - then they should be careful not to threaten those who might find the prospects of on-going State controls e.g. locking them into 3-year contracts with rising interest rates/mortgage funding costs, NOT WORTH THE 'RISK'.

Sure there are buyers, but it is those that cannot afford to buy, that still need a place to live, which makes the problem of the COST of renting, secondary. IMO.

aquashiv Mon 26-May-14 19:25:28

The blokes an idiot.

JaneParker Mon 26-May-14 19:55:00

1. Under th eplans if the landlord needs to move into the property the 3 years goes out the window (i.e. there is no 3 year guarantee - just smoke and mirrors)
2. The rent can increase in accordance with increases in local market rents - that is what landlords all currently do anyway
3. The costs on the tenant by the agent will just be swallowed into the rent which will be higher so no saving to the tenant.

Therefore the plans are totally pointless.

HoopyViper Mon 26-May-14 20:16:13

I agree JaneParker, I don't think any party has a sensible or realistic plan that will do nearly enough.

You'll have to humour me a bit here Isitmebut, but I do often wonder how it is we could afford the Olympics and the Jubilee (not to mention high speed rail) but do naff all to create properly affordable housing.

Or am I being too simplistic?

It feels to me that private renters are copping the flack for others in dire situations, ie negative equity brought about by disgraceful banking practices.

HoopyViper Mon 26-May-14 21:00:37

I could add that we have always trained and worked as hard as our circumstances would allow.

When everyone 10-15 years ago shouted at us "buy, buy, buy!" at stupid rates (and some are now too as we race towards similarly stupid prices) we could see the way ahead down that route was doomed. And it was. The bad practices that would have made us able to take out a mortgage were called to an abrupt halt. It would have been irresponsible for us to have taken on a mortgage, but many others jumped at it.

There for the grace of God go I. Maybe I'd be an accidental landlord now, who knows.

Isitmebut Tue 27-May-14 12:34:46

HoopyViper …. Further to your following point;
“You'll have to humour me a bit here Isitmebut, but I do often wonder how it is we could afford the Olympics and the Jubilee (not to mention high speed rail) but do naff all to create properly affordable housing. Or am I being too simplistic?”

In answer to your question to the affordability of building social/council/affordable homes, there is a ‘then’ and ‘now’ government financial situation as the Coalition inherited in 2010 a UK that was ANNUALLY spending £157 billion a year MORE than what we earn – as well as LESS council/social homes available in 2010, than in 1997.

And although the Coalition has reduced that to just over £100 billion annually - we NOW have an (accumulated) National Debt of £1,270,000,000,000 (£1.27 trillion) and it is costing £52 billion a year out of our national spending budget, JUST to cover the interest on that debt, that gets ever larger until any government gets the spending under control

Hence my point, we need (for now) to rely too much on Private Sector landlords and Private Sector new homes, until this government (and/or the next) can build more than they currently are.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-borrowing-powers-for-councils-to-build-10000-affordable-homes

The fact is that back ‘then’ from 1997 to 2007, we had the money, but had different priorities.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1214001/The-cost-quango-Britain-hits-170bn--seven-fold-rise-Labour-came-power.html

www.taxpayersalliance.com/economics/2009/09/new-book-reveals-the-total-cost-of-gordon-browns-mishandling-of-the-economy-as-3-trillion-or-3000000.html

Even though the government was warned around the time we opened our doors to the EU, we already needed twice as many homes built per year (whether our population was to grow due to EU economic migration, or not).

The (2004) Barker review – pre EU immigration Barker recommended that we had to DOUBLE home building back then.

www.theguardian.com/money/2004/mar/17/business.housing
Kate Barker, a member of the monetary policy committee, was asked a year ago by Gordon Brown and the deputy prime minister John Prescott to carry out a review of the housing market in the UK.

Shelter (2009); The housing crisis in numbers – and the need for spare bedrooms, never mind homes.
england.shelter.org.uk/campaigns/why_we_campaign/the_housing_crisis/what_is_the_housing_crisis.

P.S. An infrastructure project like HS2 that can help bridge the North-South divide, encourage more businesses/jobs North and generally make it easier for more workers to commute further for work ADDS to the economy for decades to come. Building up an expensive Quangocracy just helps ‘the few’ well paid government employees, creates more anti growth red tape and just ADDS to our annual budget deficit.

vitaminz Tue 27-May-14 13:34:14

They could divert the billions they current pay private landlords in housing benefit into a massive house building programme. Something like 40% of the housing benefit bill now goes straight into the pockets of rich landlords. This also places a floor on rents since landlords know this is the minimum they can receive. It's ridiculous that tax payers are paying for the pension/mortgage of landlords. This is market intervention, not natural market where supply and demand. If housing benefit for private rentals were removed rents would fall rapidly. But most landlords vote Tory so this is a no no. They would rather have tenants living in insecure, shitty accommodation that they are paying high rents for than building 100,000s of homes that would make life better for so many people, reduce welfare costs, reduce medical costs (bad housing makes people ill) etc.

Landlords already get lots of tax breaks, have access to specialist low cost mortgages that first time buyers don't, they can ofset costs against tax, claim back mortgage interest etc, how can young first time buyers compete? They don't have to be on any national register and HMRC estimates that many hundreds of thousands of landlords are not even paying tax on the rent they receive. The "market" is totally distorted in favour of older, rich, landlords.

Isitmebut Tue 27-May-14 15:21:15

vitaminz ... do you have 'the landlords' costs of funding their mortgage and other expenses - so we can work out how much the State can 'divert' without them getting totally pissed off and selling up, or before getting locked into a 3-year contract that assumes EVERY landlord is a long term landlord and/or their circumstances won't change?

Or shall we form a new Quango to individually sit down with each landlord and work out how much £££££ can individually be 'diverted' and keep them happy enough to hold on?

We are where we are because we are around 2 million homes short when we should not have been, with or without immigration, and as private landlords now this year for the first time are the biggest providers of accomodation - IMO we have to be very careful where the clunking fist of State lands, as the State can't stop them selling, YET.

Personally with the new private pension reforms, I'd see the writing on the wall, sell up, and save in more traditional 'shocks and scares' markets - that money came out of when Mr Brown took away stocks dividend tax relief in 1997 - as retain full control (via a SIPP) and more tax efficient, if nothing else.

Isitmebut Tue 27-May-14 15:45:13

vitaminz .... Re "They would rather have tenants living in insecure, shitty accommodation that they are paying high rents for than building 100,000s of homes that would make life better for so many people, reduce welfare costs, reduce medical costs (bad housing makes people ill) etc."

Have you read the links above e.g. Shelter, how can you blame the Tories for those figures in 2009; 1.7 million households, that is around 5 million people on waiting lists - nothing to do with Labour increasing the population by 2.5 million in the 2000, was it?

Brown encouraged Buy To Let, around the mid 2000's he seriously considered allowing pensions to buy homes via a SIPP, but pulled out at the last moment.

Brown had Capital Gains Tax at a tapered low of 10%, putting it up to 18% before leaving power - who was that for if not the likes of multi property landlords?

All Labour can do is scoff at Coalition emergency measures to try free up several hundred thousand empty Council/social bedrooms TO HELP THOSE SUFFERING from Labour's policies - and call it a bedroom tax for political capital.

So I' redefine who "they" are, if I was you, and now the money has all gone, apart from the extra borrowing power for councils I've linked above, IN THE REAL WORLD, where socialist policies to solve socialist government screw ups sends investment capital running - if I was Miliband I would not even read your idea, never mind repeat it.

HoopyViper Tue 27-May-14 16:41:14

Isitmebut the Olympics and Jubilee were in this term. Imo there there was no justification to do/give the best most lavish celebrations around these. Yet these were the events this government prioritised.

The state can't stop them [LL] selling, yet.

What will happen if they do? Who will they sell to?

Perhaps it needs to happen. Mass sell up of houses currently let out which are not sustainable long-term lets and costing us more in benefits payout. Down come the price tags, either first time buyers will be able to afford to buy, or perhaps we'll see more housing associations swoop up these to provide as social housing.

Isitmebut Tue 27-May-14 17:01:42

HoopyViper .... "who will they sell to" ... I guess that depends if people are looking to trade down or trading up, can still borrow to buy - and what percentage within the total UK housing stock, are rented out properties.

There would unlikely be mass sales, I'd suggest most landlords try and fix their mortgages for 2 to 5 year terms, so if too costly to break their Fixed Term mortgage, they'd wait several months before it came up for renewal to market it.

My point is, for those in the likes of Shelters figures, they do not have the OPTION to buy and the last thing they need is to compete with those with more money, in a home bun fight due to a reducing number of the private sector rented out homes stock.

The ONLY ways homes in this country will come down significantly, will be if we build shed loads more or another financial crash.

P.S. When did the Olympics Stadium start being built, and how much was the Jubilee on top of the Queens contribution - and why no comment on fat, inefficient government costing £170 bil, much of which still forms our annual budget deficit????

HoopyViper Wed 28-May-14 10:57:41

Wrote long reply and lost it in the ether. So here goes again. I am not for a minute suggesting labour did well last term, but they did coincide with a Global crash which does have to be taken into consideration. We may well have borrowed a lot - but surely we were only given it on the strength of our plans to pay it back - or was that more shoddy banking practice?

I just don't think this Government are really doing any better. Certainly it is the poor and vulnerable who are experiencing more hardship in real terms, in spite of "recovery". I have no idea who I am going to vote for.

I don't know how much the Queen ended up paying for the Jubilee. The sums seem to vary wildly and most describe anticipated costs before the event, rather than actual amounts afterwards, and all vary depending on their source. I am sure the real figures are out there somewhere.

My point though re: Olympics and Jubilee is more that the extravagance felt inappropriate to me, whoever paid for it. All those thousands upon thousands literally going up in smoke. I found it distasteful and reflective of wider values.

You refer a lot to Shelter - they are campaigning for 5 year rental contracts, AFAIK.

I am also slightly confused as you seem to being saying on one hand we need to be careful not to upset landlords or they will disappear, but then on the other saying there wouldn't be a mass sell up.

I do wonder if we could do more to remove accidental landlords from the equation - if something like 2.7 million precariously unstable rental homes were removed from the equation and put on the open market at their true value, alongside plans to build more appropriate social housing, I am certain that would have a real impact.

We could do more to acknowledge the plight of accidental landlords, particularly where due to the global crash and irresponsibility of our banking practices (yes, under a Labour government). Otherwise we're just shunting their problem onto the already vulnerable, as if they are second class citizens or something.

HoopyViper Wed 28-May-14 12:12:02

Or how about if shoddy landlords who are in breach of contract (but where really we know currently tenants have no leg to stand on) the ll is forced to sell or rent long term to the council or ha at reduced price. That'd learn 'em!

Isitmebut Wed 28-May-14 12:46:42

HoopyViper ….. firstly, re home building, let us remember that Brown commissioned the Barker Report (for a homes shortage reason) in 2003, which reported a massive shortage in 2004 – and the financial crash began in late 2007, and didn’t really impact on our growth until early 2009, which is 12-years after Labour came to power.

As far as banks were concerned, they were not to blame for the unbalanced structure of the UK leading into the crash, which made our annual deficit (which was annually around £30 billion leading up to 2007) FAR WORSE.

If you read this link it explains, through the financial jargon, that Labour/Brown massively increased government spending (unprecedented in Europe in ‘real’ terms) by around 50% from 2001 to 2008, mainly due to the tax receipts from speculation i.e. City profits that produced between £60 to £100 bil a year in tax and several £billion on Stamp Tax due to the Housing boom,
www.economicshelp.org/blog/5509/economics/government-spending-under-labour/

BUT WHEN THE TAX RECEIPTS FELL AND THE EXPENSES STAYED THE SAME WITHOUT CUTS, we ended up (including the extra costs of any recession with less tax receipts and more unemployment benefits) with the £157 billion Labour passed on to the Coalition.

I therefore reiterate MY POINT, that the money was available, and whether in your opinion the Olympic project Labour started, or the Queen’s Jubilee, was less or more important than a small army of Quancicrats on £60k to £150k+ - or sending THIS army into war without decent military equipment, is here nor there – Labour were aware of the housing shortage before immigration added to the homes shortage, but it appears, did nothing about it – other than pass the problem over to the Private Sector, actively encourage bank lending and Buy To Let investments
www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/costly-failures-wars-in-iraq-and-afghanistan-cost-uk-taxpayers-30bn-9442640.html

So on housing, we are where we are, with the Coalition looking to solve a huge social problem not of their making, with a honking great annual Budget Deficit to try and fix it.

Re Shelter; yes I do refer to them as they seem a reliable source on the SIZE of the problem of those on lower incomes mainly needing council/social homes, many not yet in rented housing, and will definitely not benefit by a drop in private rented properties tightening the rental market overall.

As to pushing for 5-year contracts, which I’d guess they are looking for in social housing, but even if they mean private landlord rentals, the funding and other uncertainties remain for landlords year after year, whether God Almighty himself is for 5-year contracts.

Re Accidental Landlords; whether we call them accidental, unplanned for, or even bastards, if you “REMOVE” landlords at any time without knowing if an owner occupier or new landlord will buy it – thereby potentially reducing the amount of available rental properties on the market for those who have options, and the poorer people in society who don’t – I cannot see any ‘positives’, only negatives.

Re any Landlords selling due to socialist head-up-bottom dictates; why are you confused that the amount of rental stock available will fall, whether it takes 1-year or 5-years, as landlords have the choice of waiting until their Fixed Mortgage ends, or paying an often large penalty to break it mid fixed term?

I can’t wait to see more unpractical ideas’ - with a net sum loss akin to re-arranging the cabin accommodation on the Titanic - RATHER THAN FIRM PLANS TO BUILD 200,000 HOMES A YEAR FROM 2015.

HoopyViper Wed 28-May-14 13:35:39

But you are assuming if private lls cut their losses by selling up, these properties no longer exist for those in need of housing, or are snapped up privately by those who can already buy. You've made no comment as to the liklihood of them being used instead as social housing, or whether we have power to influence that as an outcome. Or in terms of where the buck falls for those caught up in negative equity.

I don't see why we cannot build AND introduce a better regulated private rent system to weed out bad practice and which offers more security for tenants. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

Anyhoo, I would love to spend more time reading and researching all the dm links you have been providing, but unfortunately I have boxes to pack. My views though pretty much remain unchanged.

Isitmebut Wed 28-May-14 14:12:55

What? Of course a sold house will be reoccupied, on what basis do you assume the rental stock won't fall when landlords sell and/or Social/Housing Associations can afford or will pick them up?

There is no problem with a better regulated rental market any ANY time and it should be ongoing, but that is not what is being proposed; so all you need understand is that State or any other penal controls on private capital sends it running - and anyone who sez they are running their own money, pension fund or otherwise, for the 'good of the inefficient state', should be viewed with suspicion. IMO.

If an annually bust UK wants to encourage mass building/renting with better practice and sustainable housing stock now and in the future, of which they can add to at any time - what a political party should not do is threaten the market place, although long tenancies might suit NEW PRIVATE SECTOR PROVIDERS.

“Pru plans foray into UK rented housing”

www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a35a999e-9893-11e2-a853-00144feabdc0.html#axzz330iRnEwP

“The Prudential is to become the first UK institutional investor to enter the UK rented housing market in recent times, paving the way for the growth of a corporate-backed letting market at a time of acute housing shortage.”

“The UK’s insurers and pension funds were once among the largest owners of residential property in the UK, but sold off their estates in the years after the second world war due to the intensive management required.”

“Both Legal & General and Aviva are looking at entering the private rented sector; _both are understood to have eyed various potential developments and tie-ups with housebuilders.”_

Frankly if I was them, I'd but any building/renting plans on hold until after the 2015 General Election and wait to hear Miliband's details to a badly thought out plan, ONCE he's got the votes.

vitaminz Wed 28-May-14 14:17:29

Isitmebut - I'm not just blaming the Tories, Labour were absolutely horrendous in their 13 years in power and most of the problems are Labour's fault including the introduction of BTL mortgages, not building any social homes during their tenure, not raising interest rates at the right time, allowing interest only and 120% mortgages, basically allowing houses to be assets rather than homes for people. However, as far as I can see it is Labour who are actually talking about the large percentage of people who are now forced to rent and although not perfect in any way, tenants now feel like they are getting some attention from a political party.

It is notable that just last week the Tories and Lib Dems voted against a ban on letting agents charging tenants. We all know that the Tories are the party of the rich and far more Tory MP's are multiple home owners and BTLers so have a vested interest in keeping housing supply squeezed, making sure the private rental sector is as insecure and unattractive to renters as possible so they will want rather take on the huge debt of a small new build than continue to rent (that is why they won't reform the private rental sector so that tenants have longer security of tenure or put a stop to things like retaliatory evictions).

Also, if landlords sell up because they no longer get the rent they want then that means more homes on the market for non-landlords to buy and presumably more homes for families to live in that just want a home rather than an investment. I don't think that's a bad thing. These houses won't be knocked down or disappear in a puff of smoke just because they don't belong to a landlord anymore, they will just change use, which, imo is a good thing for individual tenants and the economy as a whole.

vitaminz Wed 28-May-14 14:29:55

Of course we need to build more homes but we also have to make sure that these are not just going to be bought up by landlords so that the situation goes full circle. The need for more houses is the symptom of the problem, not the cause. Addressing the cause (making being a landlord unattractive) would bring a lot more homes onto the market for people to own and live in. We can only do that by making other investments MORE attractive to potential landlords. The best way would be to reverse Brown's changes to pensions that created the beast that is BTL. Get people investing in companies that produce things, manufacturing, entrepreneurs, inventors, helping society and the economy as a whole, not the pseudo-business of BTL which is destroying lives and destroying the economy.

HoopyViper Wed 28-May-14 15:22:34

Agreed vitaminz.

Isitmebut my post was clear that I am not assuming anything but querying whether we have scope to influence the outcome of sales of currently rented properties so as not to create further deficiency in affordable housing for those who need it.

You still haven't commented on where the buck should lie in terms of those in negative equity. At the moment it seems an "owners" right to let a property in an unstable way, trumps the right of a tenant to a stable home. I am questioning the morality of that, and whether we could do more to support ll and tenant in these cases.

Perhaps there should be tighter regulation on which properties can be used as lets, and what happens to them if a ll decides to sell, linked to evidence-based local housing needs in terms of actual numbers of short or longer term requirements. Rather than anyone who owns outright doing what the heck they like, or banks deciding purely on terms of the type of mortgage they hold.

<really am packing now>

Isitmebut Thu 29-May-14 12:29:38

HoopyViper ….. Ok as both you and Vitiminz keep repeating the same thing, what you are both saying is that (despite the chronic lack of homes and properties to rent) you are not concerned that if Landlords sell, that it is guaranteed to reduce the amount of properties to rent – as unless another Landlord buys the property, it will be an owner occupier – which BY DEFINITION will put more accommodation available pressure on the poorer in society WHO HAVE NO OPTION TO BUY.

Ok, personally I think you are both being rather impractical for those with few financial and rental options, but I’ve got your point, no matter how rubbish it is. lol

Next re ‘the negative equity buck’, that lies with the owner of the property and the lender, until the property can be sold at a profit, should the owner wish to. Please explain to me what is an “unstable way”, and why aren’t the tenants offered a 3-momth, 6-month or 12-month Tenancy, like every other tenant in the private rental sector – unlike the somewhat longer ones via Housing Associations, or complete security of a Council Property?

If you are somehow questioning the morality of a private Landlord to sell their own property (for whatever personal/divorce/commercial/investment reason), then the answer is in the Private Sector Institutionalising of the private rented sector (as per the Prudential link I provided earlier), where those institutions e.g. Pension Funds, will be actively encouraging longer term contracts/security of tenure – to augment other more social landlords and Councils when they are able to fund many more homes than now.

Trying to micro manage the rental market cannot work for those putting their personal capital at risk and looking for an annual income, so encouraging mass institutional landlords, better able to cope with odorous socialist style red tape when leaders are looking for votes - and looking at their involvement over the long term.

Isitmebut Thu 29-May-14 12:40:56

Vitaminz ….. I covered your homes “puff of smoke” point, where you somehow think it is “good for tenants” when landlords sell to owner occupiers above. Hmmm.

Re your propaganda (below) straight out of Labour’s 1970’s ‘Class War Manual’ below, designed for the 2015 General Election; next you will be telling me that Labour’s unemployment, immigration and home build policies were because they were so ‘IN TOUCH’ with their working class roots.

“It is notable that just last week the Tories and Lib Dems voted against a ban on letting agents charging tenants. We all know that the Tories are the party of the rich and far more Tory MP's are multiple home owners and BTLers so have a vested interest in keeping housing supply squeezed, making sure the private rental sector is as insecure and unattractive to renters as possible so they will want rather take on the huge debt of a small new build than continue to rent (that is why they won't reform the private rental sector so that tenants have longer security of tenure or put a stop to things like retaliatory evictions).”

The Conservatives you call being “the party of the rich”, are in 1970’s parlance, the party of encouragement of a thriving Business/Private Sector (Labour pathetically calls ‘the few’) as they STILL don’t understand what PAYS for the Public Sector/Welfare – and that most of those 1.6 million that have work since 2010 are neither rich, or can thank Labour whose only policies pre 2010 for job ‘growf’ was to lower VAT for a year and INCREASE National Insurance.

Furthermore your accusation on why it is the Conservatives who want an “insecure and unattractive” rental market to drive home purchases might have held some water if UNDER LABOUR from 1997;

- Brown had not raised Home Stamp Duty from a Flat 1% to help pay for his massive increase in Public Sector Spending, financed by his looser bank lending regulations - so home transactions became his cash cow.

- Brown had not discouraged traditional pension saving, and encouraged Buy To Let investment to take up the slack of home provisions he was not prepared to finance via the State.

- Brown put Council Tax up over 110% in 13-years, again using homes to fund his fat State, draining renter’s discretionary income back when they did not give a hoot about ‘the cost of living’.

- Brown did not offer far more funds to Council/Social housing to try to compensate for their current needs, never mind Labour’s immigration policy, and the amount of those more secure homes FELL under Labour.

I reiterate, this country needs homes built to drive down prices/rents, all Labour offers is vote winning populist solutions, as practical as a chocolate tea pot, similar to reallocating cabins on the Titanic – as seriously, what GOOD is banning estate agents fees for managing properties in the practical home shortage scheme of things?

As far from providing more homes, as estate agents would no longer manage the credit checks, rent collection and day to day running of Landlords properties, all it would do is encourage those who can not do it themselves, to sell, lowering the amount of properties for rent.

Impractical populist policies for votes are Miliband’s theme for 2015; apart from locking landlords (Private Capital) into too long/financially risky fixed terms to paper over Labour’s past housing incompetence, ex Energy Minister Miliband proposes ‘energy freezes’ to an industry that he left us requiring $100 billion plus of Private Capital, otherwise our lights will go off.
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/politics/1983467-UK-Energy-Policy-Price-scandal-outages-due

Labour/Miliband says ‘he understands’ the Cost of Living crisis, which is just as well as you get one with EVERY recession, and his party left us with ‘the mother’ of all recessions since the 1930’s - with no practical solutions to date.
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/in_the_news/2044969--Cost-of-Living-a-cunning-plan

Labour cannot create a sustainable economy, or solve problems, they just like to ‘fiddle’ with them, make new laws (nearly 4,300 last time?) AND pretend someone else in the Private Sector will pick up the tab for their incompetence - when all it will do is drive that private capital away that HAS A CHOICE whether to put up with Miliband’s State Controls ‘vision’ for the next parliament, or vote with their financial feet.

The Solution; build 200k homes in 2015/6 and every year after, and ensure the Rental market continues to take up the slack, reviewing ways to ENCOURAGE existing private landlords to offer longer fixed term contracts, and ENCOURAGE institutional money in to fund the building of new homes and rent them out for 5-year plus fixed terms – and this will solve many of the costs and security issues, rather than reduce the availability of rental properties before the State raises it's game.

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