It’s on - although judging by the early lack of enthusiasm amongst the British public, you might be forgiven for thinking a General Election is low on the present list this Christmas.
Although Brexit will clearly dominate between now and December 12, what can we expect in terms of housing policies?
Their manifestos will not be released until the week beginning November 18, over two weeks from now, but in the meantime we do have a little to go on.
Firstly we have their 2017 manifesto promises: because so little time, relatively speaking, has been given to debating these since the last Election, many of these 2017 pledges remain largely unimplemented and one might expect them to appear in new manifestos.
Secondly both major UK-wide parties in particular have augmented those with high profile pledges in the past two years. So there’s plenty to go on in forecasting the likely housing issues which would feature … so long as the Election widens beyond Brexit.
This is marking your card and, of course, Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today will bring you stories as fresh policies emerge from the rival camps.
In the meantime, this is what we know:
- Halve rough sleeping over the course of the next parliament and eliminate it by 2027;
- Meet 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and half a million more by the end of 2022;
- Build better houses to match the quality of previous generations;
- Support for high-quality, high-density housing like mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets;
- 160,000 houses built on government land;
- Maintain the existing strong protections on designated land like the Green Belt, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty;
- Continue £2.5 billion flood defence programme to protect 300,000 existing homes by 2021.
- Former Housing Secretary James Brokenshire pledges scrapping of S1 eviction rights for landlords and creation of new homes Ombudsman;
- Pledges by Boris Johnson PM and Chancellor Sajid Javid to reform and generally reduce stamp duty;
- Pledge by Housing Minister Esther McVey to make a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ of factory manufacturer of modular homes for faster, better new builds;
- Continued research into speeding up and making more transparent the house-buying process (started during David Cameron’s premiership).
- Build over one million more homes, with at least half for social rent;
- Homeowners will be offered interest free loans to improve their properties;
- Guarantee help to buy funding until 2027 and give locals buying their first home "first dibs on new homes built in their area”;
- Legislate to ban letting agency fees for tenants, and look at giving the Mayor of London power to give London renters "additional security”;
- Make 4,000 additional homes available for rough sleepers to end homelessness;
- End Right To Buy by council tenants in England.
- Pledge by Shadow Housing Minister John Healey and party leader Jeremy Corbyn to introduce unspecified rent controls in major cities;
- Pledge by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell to introduce Right To Buy for some private rental sector tenants;
- Broad support for government policy of scrapping Section 21.
- Build 300,000 homes a year by 2022, including half a million affordable and energy-efficient homes;
- £5 billion for a new British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank;
- Ensure at least four million homes are made highly energy efficient (Band C) by 2022, with priority given to fuel-poor households;
- Restore the zero-carbon standard for new homes;
- Create at least 10 new garden cities in England;
- End the voluntary right to buy pilots that sell off housing association homes and the associated high value asset levy;
- Enable local authorities to levy up to 200 per cent council tax on second homes and 'buy to leave empty' investments from overseas;
- Enforce housebuilding on unwanted public sector land;
- Penalise “excessive” land-banking when builders with planning permission have failed to build after three years.
- Support for the scrapping of S21 eviction powers by landlords or their agents.
Scottish National Party:
- Continue housing policy in Scotland, which has the highest house building rate in the UK;
- Continue Rural Housing Fund;
- Change the system for housing asylum seekers, addressing the "disgraceful condition" of housing provided.
(Source for most 2017 material is BBC News)