‘Betrayed’ landlords urged to target marginal seats
With a General Election set for June 8, landlords are being urged to send a ‘loud and clear’ message to the Government that the buy-to-let sector has had enough.
A spokesperson for Landlords Union Property118 said: “We will not accept the constant attacks by Government and we demand the immediate scrapping of Section 24, which constitutes the worst attack on landlords in the history of the UK.”
A campaign has been launched to target Conservative MPs in marginal seats, and the organisation is using strong language to express the discontent felt by landlords following a series of measures against the buy-to-let business.
“They should not feel safe,” the spokesperson continues. “They should know that they cannot count on our votes.
“They have betrayed the landlords of this country and punished us for the crime of providing housing.”
The union is urging all landlords to write to their MPs, as well as visiting them to ask for a written pledge of how they intend to support landlords and what they will do to get Section 24 scrapped.
Barry Fitzpatrick, of Property118, said: “There’s an average of 3,000 landlords per constituency (2 million divided by 650 constituencies).
“Assuming most landlords voted Conservative last time around, if 50 per cent changed (that is 1,500 landlords in each constituency) and voted for the runner up, all things being equal, approximately 30 Conservative MPs on the list of marginals would lose their seats.
“These MPs need to be told in no uncertain terms that landlords pose a threat to their position.”
Housing Minister Gavin Barwell’s constituency of Croydon Central only has a majority of 165, and members of Property118 are urged to contact him.
A form email has been written by Dr Rosalind Beck, a portfolio landlord and campaigner against Section 24, which people can adapt:
Dear Mr Barwell,
I understand that you have a very small majority in your constituency. I would like to suggest that this is now very much in jeopardy as you will be losing many votes from private landlords. I am looking forward therefore to some kind of statement fairly soon that you are going to fight tooth and nail and get Philip Hammond to change his mind and reverse Section 24. If you do this, then the landlord bodies and individual landlords will back you and advise their members who are landlords in your constituency to vote for you. Obviously if you make no headway on this before the General Election you face the very real possibility of losing your seat.
All the best.
The spokesperson added: “We need to flood his mail bag so that he knows we mean business.
“If he gets enough emails from landlords in his constituency especially, it may concentrate his mind enough to get him to try and make Philip Hammond see sense.”
Meanwhile the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) says it will be ‘working hard to ensure candidates are aware of the devastating impact of recent tax changes on private renting.’
RLA Chairman, Alan Ward, said: “As the campaign progresses, this election needs to put housing first.
“Over recent years, the private rental market has been hit by tax hikes, benefit cuts and growing regulations all of which are making it more difficult for tenants to access and afford a place to live.
“The same changes have made it harder for good landlords to provide the quality accommodation that tenants have a right to expect and have discouraged further investment in new homes.
“We need a housing market that works for all. The majority of landlords provide good quality housing and a good service to their tenants.
“The political parties need to recognise this and deliver for tenants and good landlords alike.”
The RLA says it will be publishing a manifesto with ‘key asks’ of the new government and encouraging members to contact local candidates, asking them to set out their views on the PRS.
Theresa May announced the snap election this week, despite repeatedly claiming that she was against the idea of an early vote.
In a surprise statement she claimed that opposition parties were jeopardising preparations for Brexit.
She said: “After the country voted to leave the EU, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership.
“Since I became Prime Minister, the Government has delivered precisely that.”
The announcement was welcomed by Jon Neale, head of UK research at commercial property services JLL. He said a snap general election on June 8 is "a genuine positive for the UK property industry", as it will mean that a general election is no longer likely to coincide with the end of the two-year negotiating period following the triggering of Article 50.
But Lewis Johnston, parliamentary and public affairs manager, RICS, said it puts "a question mark over policy and creates further uncertainty across the built environment."
He said: “It is now the responsibility of all parties to set out clear policy proposals across land, property, construction and infrastructure to ensure the UK can deliver the homes, infrastructure, factories, offices and major building projects it needs to thrive.”
Geeta Nanda, Chief Executive at Thames Valley Housing, said: “The election is an opportunity to update or even scrap old manifesto pledges that are untenable or proving difficult to deliver on. Buy to let investors, stung by higher stamp duty and taxes, will be hoping for a reprieve.
“The real vote winner would be to offer tax breaks for longer, stable tenancies for those in private rent – a move which would benefit tenants and landlords alike.”