Newcastle residential landlords condemn Labour Party policy

Newcastle-based landlords have condemned a Labour Party election policy that could see long-term tenants purchase buy-to-let homes at discounted prices.

According to a snap poll conducted by Newcastle-based residential letting specialists Seekers, 98 percent of those questioned are against the policy, which would force landlords to sell their properties under a tenant ‘right to buy’ scheme.

Labour’s proposed policy would enable private tenants living in buy-to-let properties acquired as investments to have the right to buy them at a reduced rate set by a government agency.

A group of more than 40 Seekers landlord clients, many of which own multiple properties across the city and surrounding areas, interviewed for the survey also overwhelming believe the policy will impact on their future investments, with 90 percent saying that Labour’s plan would dissuade them from acquiring further buy-to-let properties.

This would have a significant impact on Newcastle, where demand for housing in the city, particularly rental properties, often outweighs supply. 

It is suggested that this policy would further impact on this situation as property owners could look to dispose of their buy-to-let houses before the policy comes into law, leaving many tenants without a home.

Mark Walton, Managing Director of Seekers, said: “This policy would have a severe impact on the private rental sector and has the potential to wipe out a large proportion of the available housing in the city.

“If a landlord wants to sell a property to a long-term tenant, they should be able to do so, but only on a voluntary basis.  Making it statutory is ludicrous and will lead to landlords considering their options and perhaps selling up.  Rather than helping people onto the property ladder it will reduce the options for those who want to rent or even force people out of their homes.

“With an election looking more and more likely and focused on Brexit, there is a real danger that polices like this will find their way through, which will be disastrous for the economy and people’s lives.  Labour need to seriously rethink this proposal and perhaps come up with ideas that will support those who prefer to rent and the landlords that provide them with high quality homes.”