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Budget neglects Britain's 10 million forgotten renters
Belvoir calls for more action to alleviate pressure on private rental sector
"We are disappointed that despite persuasive arguments from many key financial and industry experts, there has been no reversal of the punitive tax changes that were imposed on landlords by George Osborne in 2015," says Dorian.
"We believe that reversing those tax changes would have been an important factor in helping to increase the supply of rental properties in this country and would alleviate some of the pressure on a Private Rental Sector (PRS) that is facing unprecedented stress as tenant demand continues to increase and less good quality housing is available to accommodate this.
"Lack of a deposit and affordability are certainly not the only factors that are driving tenant demand and yet in many ways this budget seemed almost to put an unhealthy emphasis on home ownership and failed to recognize that many young people are actively choosing to rent rather than to become first time buyers.
"The reasons for renting are numerous, and many young people simply do not want the commitment of a 25-30 year loan. Also many young tenants are students, or prefer the flexibility of renting to enable them to work in different locations, whilst for others it is a lifestyle choice following divorce, or a convenience for people who have embarked on a new relationship and wish to live together before committing to the purchase of a property.
"The English Housing Survey of 2015-16 showed that first time buyers are increasingly likely to live in privately rented accommodation before they buy their first home, with numbers increasing from 39% in 1995-96, to 49% in 2005-06, and to 66% in 2015-16.
"Research confirms that almost one in four households in Britain will be renting privately by the end of 2021 and last year the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors predicted that 1.8 million new rental homes will be needed by 2025. Unfortunately there seemed to be nothing in this budget that will help to drive up the supply of rental properties that are needed to provide accommodation for those who choose to rent.
"Clearly the 300,000 homes that Phillip Hammond has pledged to achieve by the mid 2020s will not come close to meeting this demand.
"It remains to be seen what the impact of abolishing stamp duty for first time buyers purchasing properties worth up to £300,000 will be. The Office for Budget Responsibility predicted an increase in average house prices of 0.3% by the end of 2018, which means that although buyers will save on stamp duty, they will have to pay more for the property they are buying.
"The Chancellor made a very brief reference within the budget to the launch of a consultation on longer tenancies in the PRS, and how landlords might be encouraged to offer these to tenants who wanted the extra security, but there was no time frame or further details and we wait with interest for further information regarding any incentives that may benefit the sector.
"At the last Conservative Party Conference, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid suggested new measures that would make it mandatory for all DIY landlords to join an ombudsman redress scheme, and also talked about the ban on tenant fees, mandatory client money protection and licensing of agents. We presume a new white paper will be published in the new few months, which will address these measures and demystify the Chancellor's comments about long-term tenancies."
To find your nearest Belvoir office please visit www.belvoir.co.uk
NOTES TO EDITORS
· Belvoir was founded in February 1995 by Mike and Stephanie Goddard. Its Central Office is in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Mike is currently Belvoir's Non-Executive Chairman.
· Belvoir is recognised as the largest property franchise network on the High Street, with over 300 offices nationwide.
· Belvoir was officially awarded the Best Lettings Agency Franchise – Gold Award at the 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2010 Lettings Agency of the Year Awards in association with The Sunday Times & The Times.
· Belvoir won the Franchise/Network of the Year at the Negotiator Awards 2017.
· Belvoir was voted Best Large Lettings Chain at the Estate & Letting Agent Awards (ESTAs) 2013, and won Silver in 2014 and 2015.
· Belvoir is a founder member of the SAFEagent Kitemark scheme, which is fully supported by NALS. SAFEagent promotes client money protection (CMP) and provides consumers with a clear message on those agents they should do business with.
· Belvoir successfully listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange on 21st February 2012.