Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Landlords not welcome

Buy-to-let investors would no longer be permitted to buy properties in London boroughs and other popular areas under radical new plans by Labour.

Ed Miliband has announced that as part of the Lyons Review, councils would be allowed to designate certain areas for ‘housing growth’, meaning that they would have the power to assemble land and make sure that new properties are built. Local authorities would be able to allow up to 50 per cent of all homes to be sold solely to first time buyers for two months after building is complete. The properties in these areas would not be purchasable by landlords and investors.

When questioned, a Labour aide was unable to state whether a buyer would be able to live in a property before renting it out, or whether there would be an uncompromising rental ban.

Former head of the BBC Trust, Sir Michael Lyons, has been working on a housing report for months and has several recommendations. A Help to Build scheme has been suggested which would underwrite loans to small builders. It would also speed up planning for small sites. Councils are also being encouraged to form New Homes Corporations to build houses. Financial incentives for local authorities to build new garden cities or suburbs may also be provided, although it is unclear where.

It will be insisted that the plan is not linked to the party’s near-defeat to Ukip in the Heywood & Middleton by-election, despite the fact that many voters were concerned about the impact of immigration on social housing.

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