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By Neil Cobbold

Commercial Director, Reapit|PayProp


Don't skimp on the details - PropTech expert's message to the new government

With a historic majority for Keir Starmer and the Labour Party, there can be no doubt over which party will be shaping the future of housing for the next five years. But, after a manifesto that was light on specific private rented sector policy details – agents, landlords and tenants all need more clarity about the private rented sector pledges Labour has made.

Throughout the campaign, Labour has made it clear that housing is a priority. There’s no doubt that some of the party’s big pledges around planning and mortgage support schemes will influence the dynamics of the UK sales market – something my colleague Steve Richmond, Reapit’s General Manager for UK&I, agrees with based on his wealth of experience leading operations at some of the UK's most prominent estate agency groups.

What is also clear is that the same planning reforms and mortgage support policies will impact lettings too. A mortgage guarantee scheme and an extensive new build programme supporting renters to become first-time buyers has the potential to free up capacity in the private rented sector (PRS), but that will take time to deliver. What the new housing minister needs to focus on from day one is encouraging current landlords to stay in the sector, and to do that we need detailed policies early in the new parliament.

Increase energy efficiency

We know from extensive industry comments on the scrapped Renters (Reform) Bill that many are worried the proposed abolition of Section 21 will take place before the courts are ready to absorb the inevitable increase in Section 8 evictions. The industry needs reassurance that court reforms to speed up Section 8 evictions will be prioritised to provide a reliable and timely court service.

Additionally, pledges – including the devolution of some of England’s housing policy to regional mayors and to increase energy efficiency measures for rental properties – need more meat on the bone, so landlords can accurately assess how these policies will impact their properties.

Landlords will need a level of reassurance to continue to see the PRS as a viable investment. The vast majority already provide decent homes for millions of people. But many landlords could already be considering their position based on the rhetoric from Labour, rather than actual policy details. My message to Angela Rayner and Matthew Pennycook would be not to skimp on the details, and to take on board the feedback from the industry as Labour progresses its plans or the PRS.


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