Landlord support for Labour and the Liberal Democrat Party has halved since the 2010 General Election because of their interventionist policies for the private rented sector (PRS), according to the National Landlords Association (NLA).
Research from the NLA shows that landlord support for the Labour Party has fallen from 11 per cent in 2010, to just six per cent who say they intend to vote for Ed Miliband at the polls on May 7th. The NLA predicts a further slide in Labour support, as the research was conducted before the party manifestos were published and the Labour leader confirmed his intention to cap rent increases at the rate of inflation.
Landlord support for the Liberal Democrats has also halved – from 10 per cent in 2010, to just 5 per cent who say they’ll vote for them this time around. However, landlord support for the Green Party – which proposes the most radical reform of the PRS – hasn’t changed, with the same proportion who voted Green in 2010 intending to do so at the General Election.
Landlord support for UKIP has trebled since 2010 – up from 3 per cent to 9 per cent, and two in five (40 per cent) landlords intend to vote Conservative – the same proportion who voted for them in 2010. This is an increase of 10 percentage points over the past six months, suggesting that previously undecided landlord voters are also moving towards the Conservatives.
Nearly half (47%) of respondents said that being a landlord directly influenced their vote. One in three (30 per cent) had yet to decide or would rather not say which way they’ll be voting.
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the NLA, said:
“Housing and private renting issues have moved up the political agenda since 2010 as the parties have woken up to the housing crisis and the increase in the number of voters renting. But all they’ve done is jump to knee-jerk policies to appeal to the masses.
“It’s easier for politicians to attack an unpopular stereotype and shift the blame to the urban myth that private landlords are a breed apart and inherently bad. But the truth is the majority are ordinary, law-abiding, hard-working people who put their own money into providing homes.
“Landlords have lost confidence in political parties that propose rent control because it sets the price they can charge without thinking about their costs, preventing them from running sustainable businesses.
“Rent control sounds like a simple solution and makes politicians look like they’re getting tough on the issue, but vilifying landlords won’t magically lead to more homes being built. More likely, we’ll see history repeat itself as landlords leave the sector and tenants struggle to find new homes. That will do nothing to solve the real problem of the undersupply of housing.”
The NLA is urging landlords to make their voices heard against rent control and other interventions into the PRS by using the NLA’s new lobby tool to write to their local parliamentary candidates.
Mr Lambert added:
“Let’s stop swinging back and forth like a pendulum between landlords and tenants. There is a consensus for change within the PRS that a new Government could easily introduce in the first Queen’s Speech which would get cross party support and benefit both landlords and tenants alike.
“Policy makers must stop pointing the finger at landlords, and instead fix the underlying problem: incentivising more house building”.
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