After years - indeed a decade - of anti-rental sector policy and rhetoric it’s difficult not to see recent days as a victory, of sorts.
The Renters Reform Bill may be in the long grass and costly new EPC and boiler targets definitely are - surely old Section 24 tax incentives for buy to let can’t be resuscitated, can they?
Trade bodies like ARLA Propertymark and the National Residential Landlords Association have waged a long and determined fight of resistance against many unfair measures in recent years. They deserve credit.
There’s been their opposition to net zero measures which were clearly unaffordable, while maintaining the importance of net zero as an overall objective.
There’s also been resistance from the NRLA and Propertymark to many aspects of the Renters Reform Bill which combined (and on top of all else) have made buy to let increasingly unviable - leading directly to today’s stock shortage and rent rises.
But we need to be honest and see that while lobbying has been vital, the decisions and delays we’ve seen this month are down to one thing only - party political expediency.
Sunak hasn’t torn up someone else’s EPC targets for landlords or someone else’s gas boiler deadlines - they were ones he signed off in Cabinet.
If there really is a delay in the Second Reading of the Renters Reform Bill it’s probably not, at this relatively late stage, because of lobbying by landlords.
Instead, it’s likely to be down to a much-speculated set of polls conducted by the Tory party allegedly showing that renters remain highly likely to vote Labour - despite a decade of anti-landlord rhetoric, tax measures and red tape introduced by the Conservatives.
And bringing back those tax incentives for the rental sector?
I would say it’s wishful thinking, and it would certainly be a hard sell to a population suffering some of the highest levels of taxation for many decades.
But never say never: if it is to happen, don’t expect it to be flagged up as a tax break for landlords, so look out for a well disguised measure introduced at the Autumn Statement on November 23.
Don’t get me wrong.
As a landlord and as an informed observer lucky enough to spend my life writing about property, the announcements of recent weeks are good news because they will help stop the haemorrhaging of rental stock.
And it remains vital trade bodies continue their rugged and well researched opposition to what is plainly wrong for the industry.
But as victories go, this is pyrrhic: in reality it’s just one unexpected lurch along the road to General Election 2024.
There will be many more to come…