Lib Dem manifesto – industry responds to key housing policies


The Liberal Democrats published its manifesto yesterday, which included a range of housing policy plans; to boost housebuilding, stregthen tenants rights, develop ten new garden cities, enable councils to buy land for housing based on current use value by reforming the Land Compensation Act 1961.

The party also backs introducing a new Rent to Own model for social housing, as well as a properly funding local planning departments to improve planning outcomes and ensure housing is not built in areas of high flood risk without adequate mitigation.

There are also pledges to encourage the use of rural exception sites to expand rural housing, incentivise development of existing brownfield sites, and the introduction of a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ planning permission for developers who refuse to build.

Reflecting on the housing proposals put forward by the Lib Dems, Michael Cook, CEO, Leaders Romans Group, said: “While the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto aims for a fair deal across various sectors, it unfortunately falls short of addressing the housing crisis comprehensively.

“The solitary focus on renters’ rights, essentially a phoenix of the unpassed Renters (Reform) Bill with a twist of mandating three-year tenancies, misses a significant opportunity. More robust and diverse housing policies are crucial to genuinely tackle the pressing issues faced by millions in need of affordable and secure housing.”

Nathan Emerson, CEO at Propertymark, commented: “It is encouraging to see housebuilding targets being taken seriously within the first manifesto released, especially a realisation that more social homes are required so that people have access to a greater provision of housing.

“Propertymark has always believed that ground rents should be capped, so it is good to see that similar proposals are being referenced in the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto. It will be interesting to see what mechanism they intend to use should they succeed in ending no-fault evictions.”

Property analyst Anthony Codling from RBC Capital Markets added: “On the whole the Liberal Democrats manifesto sets out a good news story for the housing market, homebuyers and homeowners. The manifesto sets out the highest housebuilding targets we have seen so far – 380,000 p.a. including 150,000 social homes each year; proper funding for local planning departments; and a Rent to Own scheme will also appeal to aspiring homeowners without access to deposit.

“However, there are also several sticks among the housing carrots and landowners and housebuilders may not warm to all parts of the manifesto – in particular the beefing up of compulsory purchase orders, use it or lose it planning, and an immediate requirement for all new homes to be built to a zero carbon standard.

“The manifesto seeks to increase housing supply, but ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ planning and the build cost implications of an immediate net zero policy runs the risk of reducing supply.”

New pledge to ban Section 21 evictions as renters promised three-year tenancies under proposals

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