A leading property expert has suggested that a Labour landslide in the next election might prove more beneficial for buy-to-let landlords than a narrow victory for the party. Ranjan Bhattacharya, a respected figure in the property sector, believes that the larger majority would prevent the party from having to appease its more extreme factions.
Bhattacharya points out that, despite Labour MPs failing to pass some “scary” amendments to the Renters Reform Bill, the party’s intentions regarding the future direction of housing policies are clear. He expresses concerns about the influence of the party’s left wing, saying, “The problem Keir Starmer has is that he has quite a few Corbynista left-wing loons in his party. If Labour win with a relatively small majority he will always have to pander to what that Corbynista wing of the party has to say – that would be the worst outcome.”
Among the proposed amendments by some Labour MPs was the introduction of a hardship test for rent payments. Bhattacharya criticizes this idea, arguing that it’s impractical and unfair: “Every single tenant who is in arrears would try to claim hardship and put up a case – that doesn’t make sense as you don’t have this in any other walk of life. There’s no hardship test for homeowners with a mortgage. Why should a tenant have more rights than an owner-occupier?”
Another suggestion he labels as “Loony Tunes” is the idea of forcing landlords to offer tenants first refusal when selling properties. Bhattacharya notes that while this often happens in practice, legislating it would only cause unnecessary delays and confusion, particularly when selling blocks of flats.
Highlighting the importance of Section 21 notices for ensuring certainty in the housing market, Bhattacharya warns that adopting such proposals could have serious repercussions. He expresses concern about the potential impact on the court system and lending practices, stating, “The problem with all these ifs and buts is that the already overburdened court system will be snarled up with all sorts of spurious claims. If some elements were to come in, then many lenders may take a different view on lending – if they don’t have security over the assets they’re lending on, why should they put up the money?”
This insight from Bhattacharya sheds light on the complex dynamics at play in the UK’s housing market and the potential implications of the upcoming election results.