By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.


JONATHAN ROLANDE: Sunak really needs to work on his kerb-appeal

Even the most junior of estate agents will tell you that if you are going to bet the house on pulling off an unlikely deal then first impressions really count. 

And the first impression I was left with as our Prime Minister stood in the pouring rain on Downing Street on Wednesday, was of a man who would seen be moving house.

For the rest of us, as the clock ticks down to July 4, the obvious question is what impact the next six weeks will have on our industry. 

The most immediate issue is the further delay to the Renters Reform Bill. It is possible it may be rushed through before Parliament is dissolved on May 30 - but this seems unlikely.

There will be a lot of campaigning and perhaps a few dirty tricks between now and voting day. Much could change but as I write this, but there is an assumption that the current government isn't going to do very well and will lose their majority.

It's far from a done deal but let's assume Labour do form a government on 5th July. Being naturally more aligned to the average tenant than the average landlord, it is likely we’ll see a supercharged version of the bill return. With a large majority, objections from the usual places won’t count for much. I expect a re-balancing of traditional landlord/tenant relations to be installed in the early days of a Labour administration.

In the meantime, a larger number of landlords will leave the sector and, due to uncertainty, we will see a decrease in new entrants that may continue beyond July as investors bide their time to see what might be ahead.

Although we still await manifestos, it doesn’t look likely that there will be much legislation to address the imbalances in the market for at least a year. Parliamentary time is short and money is tight. 

Keir Starmer didn’t directly mention property in his six pledges announced earlier this month. 

But he has already vowed to ‘deliver economic stability’ – easy to say given the shocks to the economy over the last decade or so and with worldwide instability much will be out of his hands.

For those of us in the property sector, this has to be the top priority. The property market is surprisingly robust and the desire to own a home is an almost uniquely British obsession. To a great extent, the market can take care of itself if the economy is stable. Prices will rise but so will employment opportunities and wages.

I believe that governments should aim to only do what others can’t. In the long run first timers don’t benefit from gimmicks such as a stamp duty holiday or guaranteed mortgages. 

Instead I hope the new government – if we get one – does what others can’t. I’d like to see it force through planning changes to free up brownfield development, and take steps to rebalance the huge inequalities in wealth and opportunity that seem to have become worse in recent years.

But make no mistake, a change of leader will see a new emphasis on the common good far more than the individual that lays at the heart of the Tory mindset.

If Labour are victorious, I suspect many of us in the property sector will live through some uncomfortable months or even years as Keir Starmer tries to steady the ship, and then try to turn it.

I just hope whoever is in power on July 5 stands at that kerb and remembers the luxury of the home behind them remains out of reach for too many.

And that they take steps to address this.



Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal