How the different political parties plan to deal with unaffordable rents

Economy News

Since the last general election, the average cost of renting privately in England has surged by almost a quarter. In December 2019, the average monthly rent was £1,064, according to the Office for National Statistics. By May 2024, this figure had increased by 22% to £1,301 for both new and existing tenancies. 

During the same period, the Institute for Fiscal Studies reported that UK earnings rose by 4-6% in real terms from April 2019 to April 2024.

The National Residential Landlords Association attributed the spike in rental costs to a “chronic shortage” of private rental properties, exacerbated by high interest rates which have driven landlords out of the market. The Bank of England began raising interest rates in December 2021 to curb inflation, maintaining them at 5.25% since the previous summer.

London remains the most expensive area for renters in England. However, Tameside in Greater Manchester experienced the steepest increase, with average rents soaring over 40%, from £555 in December 2019 to £780 in May 2024. Six local authorities in Greater Manchester were among those with the highest percentage rent increases in England.

Political parties have proposed various measures to address the rental crisis:

  • Conservatives: Plan to build 1.6 million homes over five years, introduce a new Help to Buy scheme with a 5% deposit requirement, and eliminate stamp duty for properties up to £425,000.
  • Labour: Aim to help build 1.5 million homes over five years, introduce a permanent mortgage guarantee scheme for first-time buyers, end rental bidding wars, and extend protections against damp, mould, and cold.
  • Liberal Democrats: Propose constructing 380,000 homes annually and making three-year tenancies the default.
  • Reform UK: Prioritise local residents and those who have contributed to the system for social housing, and incentivise more people to become landlords by reducing certain taxes.
  • Green Party: Plan to create 150,000 new social homes each year, implement rent controls, and repurpose empty homes.
  • The Renters (Reform) Bill, which sought to prevent landlords from evicting tenants without cause, was not passed before the general election was called.

The Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, and the Green Party all promise to end no-fault evictions if elected. Reform UK, however, aims to scrap the Renters Reform Bill and instead enhance the monitoring, appeals, and enforcement processes for renters with grievances.

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