Lib Dem manifesto: compulsory licensing for private landlords, three-year tenancies, and limits on rent increases

Article Posted -
28 Nov 2019

**UPDATE 28 November**

The Liberal Democrats are today launching their manifesto for the upcoming General Election, with little positive offered for private landlords. 

Having voted to support the abolition of Section 21 – so-called ‘no fault evictions’ – at their autumn conference, the party has now included this as an election promise.  

However, they have committed to legislation to introduce longer term tenancies of three years or more, with limits on annual rent increases during a tenancy, linking any rises to inflation. 

The Lib Dems are also calling for mandatory licensing in the private rented sector – although whether this is of individual landlords or of properties is unclear. 

Other housing policy pledges include: 

  • Build at least 100,000 homes for social rent each year and ensure that total housebuilding increases to 300,000 each year 

  • Build new houses to zero-carbon standards and cut fuel bills through a ten-year programme to reduce energy consumption from all the UK’s buildings 

  • Help young people into the rental market by establishing a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30 

  • Reform planning to ensure developers are required to provide essential local infrastructure from affordable homes to schools, surgeries and roads alongside new homes 

  • Allow local authorities to increase council tax by up to 500 per cent where homes are being bought as second homes with a stamp duty surcharge on overseas residents purchasing such properties. 

  • End rough sleeping within five years

  • Repeal the Vagrancy Act in order to stop the criminalisation of rough sleepers and publish a cross-Whitehall plan to end all forms of homelessness

Other manifesto commitments relevant to private landlords include: 

  • Reforming the tax system by abolishing the Capital Gains Tax-free allowance and taxing capital gains and income through a single allowance 

  • Increase Local Housing Allowance in line with average rents in an area 

  • Exempt groups from the lower Shared Accommodation Rate if they are homeless or at risk of homelessness

  • Provide funding for the local authority to deliver their duties under the Homelessness Reduction Act and introduce a 'somewhere safe to stay' duty so that there is a provision of emergency accommodation for anyone at risk of sleeping rough

  • Introduce a duty and funding for local authorities to provide accommodation and support for survivors of domestic abuse

  • End the Conservative ‘hostile environment’ policy on immigration – which would likely mean the end of landlord Right to Rent checks. 

  • A number of measures to address climate change, including: 

  • End fuel poverty by 2025 by providing free retrofits for low-income homes, piloting a new subsidised Energy-Saving Homes scheme, graduating Stamp Duty Land Tax by the energy rating of the property and reducing VAT on home insulation 

  • Increase minimum energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector (currently, properties must meet an E rating in England and Wales) and removing the cost cap on improvements to reduce exemptions 

  • Require all new homes to be built to a zero-carbon standard by 2021 

  • Require the phased installation of heat pumps in homes and businesses off the gas grid 

  • Inject £6 billion a year into Universal Credit so that first payments are paid within five days, the two-child limit can be abolished and work allowances increased.

The full manifesto is available here

The Labour manifesto is due to be published tomorrow (21 November). The Conservatives manifesto is not expected until next week. We will keep members updated on our website, and publish a comparison once all have been released. 

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