**UPDATE 25 November**
The Conservatives released their manifesto yesterday, confirming that it will follow through with plans to change the law and abolish ‘no fault’ evictions (Section 21).
The party also committed to reform of the courts to ensure that landlords are able to regain possession when they need to – although there is no detail about funding commitment to this.
The Conservative pledges on housing included:
- A commitment to introduce Lifetime Rental Deposits to help renters reduce the costs when moving between properties
- Fixed-rate mortgages requiring only five percent deposit for first-time buyers
- 30 percent discount for local first-time buyers
- A target of building 1 million homes in the next five years.
The proposal for ‘Lifetime Rental Deposits’ appears to be the introduction of deposit passporting, which the Government consulted on earlier this year.
Other Conservative commitments relevant to landlords included:
- Freezing rates on income tax and National Insurance
- Raise the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 in April 2020, and aim to raise it to £12,500
- A stamp duty surcharge on non-UK resident buyers.
There was also a commitment to improve the energy efficiency of homes, although no detail about what this would mean for the private rented sector.
The pledge to abolish Section 21 was announced on 15 April by Theresa May’s Government as part of her rhetoric to address ‘burning injustices’. The announcement was followed by a 12-week consultation period on A New Deal for Renting: Resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants. The consultation closed on 12 October and our response can be found here.
Since coming into power, Boris Johnson had been silent on matters relating to the private rented sector and greater focus had been placed on house building and other infrastructure projects as highlighted in the Queen’s speech. This announcement refocuses attention on housing and more specifically renters, which is a far cry from the Prime Minister’s focus on Brexit