United Kingdom

What do May’s mayoral elections mean for the PRS?

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A person putting a piece of paper into a ballot box

Local and mayoral elections are coming in just a few weeks, and housing is a key issue. What is at stake in England’s biggest cities?

London – big plans, smaller powers

In London, Labour candidate and likely winner Sadiq Khan has repeatedly called for rent controls. But without the powers to cap rents or having the support of central government, he hasn’t been able to deliver.

Khan has now pledged to build 6,000 rent controlled homes for key workers by 2030, which he could do under existing powers. This is a drop in the ocean compared to London’s 1.03 million privately rented homes.

A more impactful housing policy is likely to be his New Deal for Renters. Along with extending his call on Westminster for new rent control powers, this would help renters to secure Rent Repayment Orders against landlords who break the rules.

Conservative challenger Susan Hall has also said that London rents are out of control, and criticised Khan for failing to build planned affordable homes. Her Five Point Plan calls for more development, more family homes, and fewer tower blocks, but does not mention the PRS directly.

Manchester’s Good Landlord Charter could reshape sector

Up north, Manchester mayor (and again, likely winner) Andy Burnham also sees housing as a key issue. On top of building another 30,000 council homes, he also wants to introduce a Good Landlord Charter.

This includes a voluntary accreditation scheme for local landlords and would give tenants the right to request a property inspection. If homes are found to be substandard, the Greater Manchester Authority would be able to serve improvement notices against landlords and even use compulsory purchase powers to seize properties.

Races across the country

While London and Manchester’s housing plans are the most significant for the private rented sector, a total of 10 mayoral races are happening next month. Affordable housing is high on the agenda in York and North Yorkshire, the West Midlands, and the North East, among others. Rents are rising in urban centres to the point that more and more priced-out tenants are moving to nearby towns, creating an issue that mayors can’t ignore.

Other landlord headlines

All rise! Court eviction fees paid by landlords to rise 10% – LandlordZONE

HMOs gaining popularity among non-portfolio landlords – Property Reporter

Landlord Crisis – Shocking rise in repossessions and arrears – Landlord Today

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