Labour announce their housing policy intentions
With whispers and rumours of a possible snap election in the near future, Labour have announced a number of potential housing reforms that they hope will reinvigorate the housing market and improve the housing crisis.
A potential Labour Government would put a levy on thousands of second homes that are currently used for holidays. The money will target improving the housing crisis and create additional money to deal with UK homelessness.
Each property used solely as a holiday home would face an additional average £3,000 tax per year. The tax will be based on the amount of council tax attributed to the hose per year. Labour intend to double this value for second homes, sending the money directly to the treasury as opposed to each local authority.
Reports indicate that the levy would impact 174,000 houses and create more than £560 million a year in additional money.
The tax would only be aimed at houses used as holiday homes and would not include buy-to-let houses or static caravans.
John Healey, the shadow housing secretary, said: the tax was needed to raise funds for a homelessness crisis that “shames us all”.
“Over the last eight years, the Government has turned its back on the scandal of poor housing and homelessness. A housing market that works for the many, needs Government action to ensure everyone has a place to call home.
“As part of the next Labour Government’s plan to rebuild Britain, we will introduce a levy on second homes used as holiday homes, to help homeless families. Labour will act to put a brake on the growing gap between Britain’s housing ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.”
Furthermore, Labour have also indicated that they intend to give rented tenants more power by amending a law allowing landlords to evict without specific reasons.
The current law, operating since 1988, has been dubbed the biggest cause of homelessness. If elected, they will look to ensure ‘no-fault’ evictions are minimised by amending the current legislation.
A Labour Government would also provide a £20 million fund to initiate a ‘renters union’ that would help to support tenants during housing disputes.
Mr Healey said: “Tenants who rent from private landlords have been hit hard by the housing crisis.
“Labour’s commitment is clear: we’ll give renters new rights to control rental costs, improve conditions and increase security.
“Renters’ unions help put power in the hands of tenants.
“And the next Labour Government will fund set-up costs for these unions across the country to support renters to defend their rights, and make the housing market fairer.”
The announcements have come after the Conservative Government have announced their intentions to reform the rented sector with the introduction of three year tenancies and a new draft tenancy fees bill.
However, Labour claim that their plans to: Reversing cuts to legal aid for housing related cases, introducing three-year tenancies, banning letting agent fees, giving cities the power to introduce rent controls and new minimum legal standards to ensure homes are “fit for human habitation” will ensure a better deal for tenants.
Whilst the parties will vary in their approaches and policies to improving the housing crisis, it is clear that additional funding and improved rights for the growing number of over 11 million tenants is a huge concern for the UK.
Will these policies have an impact on the conveyancing sector? Will this levy decrease the amount of people buying a second home in the UK?