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Key housing reforms for new Government

Key Housing Reforms for Boris’ time in Power

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Key Housing Reforms for Boris’ time in Power

David Cox, the CE of ARLA Propertymark has suggested housing reforms which the new Government may wish to consider. As follows,

  1. Tax Incentives to attract new landlords.

Landlords and property investors are wincing under the pressure of additional taxes and costs they must cover. These include the 3% Stamp duty surcharge, reduced tax relief on mortgage interest, and the recent tenant fee ban. The government could introduce housing reforms by way of tax incentives for landlords who provide long-term tenancies in well maintained properties. This will help stimulate continued investment in the sector.

  1. Open access database of rogue landlords.

The database for Rogue Landlords and Property Agents already exists. By opening it to the public and regulatory bodies would make it a stronger deterrent against the rogue operators it is aimed at. It will also allow agents to better vet potential employees. Currently, the Government are debating whether to provide wider access to the database. Their immediate concern is whether this would interfere with data protection regulations. They are also considering whether an extended list of offences for agents and landlords should be included.

  1. New licensing rules to regulate agency.

David Cox suggests the new Government should honour the previous administrative decision to introduce further regulation and new compulsory licensing rules for property agents. The aim of new licensing would be to “clean up the industry and its reputation” by reducing the number of incompetent agents.

  1. Introducing a dedicated Housing Court for England and Wales.

Under the current legislation, it may take a very long time for landlords to evict a tenant. With the proposed ban of Section 21, the Government would put further pressure on the court process. Introducing a dedicated Housing Court would be beneficial, making the process quicker and more straightforward for all parties.

  1. Property MOT’s to ensure rentals are properly maintained.

By introducing MOT’s on all rental properties would enforce minimum standards for all landlords and agencies. It would help landlords maintain their rental properties and ultimately improve living conditions.
Mr Cox believes such housing reforms could be a massive step forward. “It would be replacing the old regulation that doesn’t work with one that does. And it would be much more effective in maintaining standards.”

Mr Cox also addresses the housing crisis, suggesting ways to make housing more affordable. The Government believes that building new homes will reduce house prices. However, according to the CityMetric, “Since house prices last hit the bottom in 1996, we’ve added 3.7 million homes in England, while only 3.2 million new households have formed. As a result, the surplus of houses over households grew from 660,000 in 1996 to over 1.1 million by 2018.”

In reality, building more houses does not solve the affordability problem. Neither the rise in prices. The Government should look at other factors such as the mortgage interest rates. For example: “Back in 1996 you could get a 75% loan-to-value mortgage fixed for two years at around 6.9 per cent. By last year, interest rates on the same product were less than a quarter of that.’’

The current Government’s policy does not work in favour of young buyers. In fact, “Over a million more live with their parents today than was the case 15 years ago’’. The reasons for this trend are the weak wage growth and the popularity of social housing in contrast to the deep cuts to housing benefit. Until the interest rates stop increasing, “It’s hard to see how Government can reduce house prices without introducing more stringent controls on mortgage lending in general.”

If you are a looking to let or sell a property across the Altrincham, Hale or Sale regions then contact us today for more information about our services. You won’t find an estate agents who place more time and attention on  getting the best tenants or price for your property.