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Has Corbyn Labour-proofed lettings?

The party's over. It's probably the best double entendre in the world of politics right now. For centre or right-leaning Labour politicians, the celebrations never got started. 

The election of Jeremy Corbyn has heralded a new and controversial chapter in the Labour party (but with some altogether old-style socialist thinking). 

Such a radical leader has prompted many to speculate that the party is over – literally. Mr Corbyn's charge to power has been touted as the death knell for Labour and commentators have been lining up to say his victory makes the organisation unelectable.


With someone as opinionated as Mr Corbyn in power, the party, actually, might only just be starting for landlords, letting agents and property managers. It was only in May of this year that a Labour manifesto full of changes for the lettings sector was being flaunted by then leader Ed Miliband. 

The promise of rent caps and the abolishment of tenant fees whipped up support to such a level that many wondered if Labour could actually gain control of number 10. The truth, however, couldn't have been more far removed. 

Now with Labour restructuring and making its left-wing stance known, thoughts turn to the next four years and whether Mr Corbyn can turn around the party's fortunes. For those in the property industry, his housing manifesto is essential reading

As well as longer tenancies, private landlord registration, rent regulation and private rents linked to average local earnings, Mr Corbyn wants to extend the Right to Buy initiative to private rental sector tenants. That's right, force landlords to sell their properties to tenants with the same discounts as offered by way of subsidised mortgage rates. 

It's a crazy idea that prompted Allister Heath writing for the Daily Telegraph to comment that Corbyn's Right to Buy economic idea was 'a most absurd suggestion', describing it as 'a devastating blow to property rights' with potential to 'destroy the private rented market and backfire catastrophically by making it much harder for poorer workers to find suitable accommodation.'

It doesn't take a genius to work out that if Labour ever came to power, the number of rental properties would dry up and those remaining would command eye-watering rents that would bring the mobility and security of the country to near collapse (and make a good number of people homeless, too).

Let's take a step back, however. For all of Mr Corbyn's scruffy socialist appearance, rousing singing (Red Flag in, National Anthem out) and Citizen Smith sympathy, his ideas and policies are unworkable in a fragile economy whose recovery needs protecting. Landlords, letting agents and property managers can quietly pop a prosecco cork as it looks as though Labour is a long way from any poll-winners party.

* Simon Duce is the Managing Director of ARPM Outsourced Lettings Support


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