In its manifesto, the party said people were “struggling to afford good homes in the right location” and said the private rental market was “expensive and insecure”
More affordable housing
Its manifesto said it planned to build at least 100,000 homes for social rent each year and ensure housebuilding increases to 300,000 per year which it said it would finance with investment from its £130bn capital infrastructure budget.
It also said it would give full control of the Right to Buy scheme to local councils.
Reforming the PRS
The Liberal Democrats said it wanted to help more young people get into the private rental sector and said it would establish a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30.
The party proposed promoting longer tenancies of three years or more in a bid to tackle homelessness, as well as an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes.
It also said it would introduce mandatory licensing to “improve protections against rogue landlords”.
In order to support people in finding and keeping homes of their own, the Liberal Democrats said it would introduce a Rent to Own model for social housing, giving tenants the opportunity to own their properties after 30 years.
Addressing climate change
The party said it would implement an emergency ten-year programme to reduce energy consumption from all buildings, cutting emissions and energy bills and ending fuel poverty with an investment of over £6bn a year on home insulation and zero-carbon heating. It said it would achieve this by the fifth year of the Parliament.
The manifesto also proposed requiring all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard by 2021, before rising to a “more ambitious standard” by 2025.
The party said it would increase minimum energy efficiency standards for privately rented properties and said there would be no cost cap on the improvements made to ensure this.
More thought needed
In response, David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said that it was welcome that the party was looking to support younger tenants in accessing rented housing with a deposit loan scheme.
However, he added:“This is tempered by the party’s proposals for three-year tenancies with rent increases linked to inflation. It is bizarre to be proposing this when the average length tenants have been in their properties is over four years and when private rents are increasing by less than inflation according to the Office for National Statistics.”
Smith continued: “Proposals to end the Local Housing Allowance Cap as well as ending the hostile environment for immigration are welcome steps and reflect proposals put forward by the RLA in its own manifesto for the private rented sector.
“However, the party’s plans for a blanket licensing scheme for landlords needs further thought. The crooks will simply not come forward, leaving the good landlords to pick up the tab for what would be a costly waste of time.”