Mais Non! Ed Milliband wants to import French property laws into the UK

Approaching an election, it is not unusual for left-leaning parties to take a swipe at landlords. The reason is property and ownership of houses, land or flats is always synonymous with wealth. Basic human needs include a roof over one’s head, and the thought of losing that fuels more anxiety than living on bread and water, so it’s an emotional issue. Follow that with the socialist sketch of a huddle of landlords depicting a bunch of `rich, greedy and heartless’ people plotting to exploit the chronic housing shortage and you can easily create a political powder keg.

The facts about UK landlords are overlooked. Far from being scheming capitalists, they are quite the opposite.

• 89 per cent of landlords are private individuals, likely only to be renting one or two properties out rather than hoarding multiple properties in the pursuit of profits at any cost.
• 79 per cent of all landlords earned less than a quarter of their income from letting properties.
• 21 per cent earned no income at all from their rental property.

But surely, goes Labour thinking, tenants must be an unhappy bunch. What about all that victimisation by the unscrupulous? Surely it is the job of Government to protect them from these ogres? Why not impose three year tenancies just like they do in France?

I suppose the answer to that is that we don’t need to:

• The most recent English Housing Survey shows that the average length of tenancies under the current tenancy model is now 3.8 years with those staying on longer in their properties enjoying considerable savings on their rents.
• Government figures show 83 per cent of tenants in the private rented sector are satisfied with their properties compared to 81 per cent in the social sector.
• Just 9 per cent of tenancies in the private rented sector are ended by the landlord.
• Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that rents in the private rented sector have been increasing by much less than inflation measured both by CPI and RPI. Over the last year they increased by just 1% alone in England.
• In July 2013, the cross party Communities (DCLG) and Local Government Select Committee observed in its report on the private rented sector that rent controls “would serve only to reduce investment in the sector at a time when it is most needed.”

Rather than being of advantage to either landlord or tenant, Ed Milliband’s proposals are just another example of the the Labour party’s obsession with running a controlled economy and ruining a growing one.

C’est tout.

About Louise Burfitt-Dons

Writer and social critic
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2 Responses to Mais Non! Ed Milliband wants to import French property laws into the UK

  1. Thank you for your feedback Bernard, and very sorry for your personal experiences. Everyone would like to see a clamp down on rogue landlords, deposit fraud, excessive maintenance charges, poor stock and all the other unpleasantness that can be meted out by Rigsby-type landlords etc but I personally don’t think more tax on them is the go. Nor extra paperwork. Since the trial schemes began 216 landlords have been prosecuted – not for not filling in holes in the floor boards , but for not filling in the new forms!
    Leeds Council, which introduced its scheme in 2009, has prosecuted just 42 landlords for licence offences and six for hazard offences up to December 2013. By the same time, Durham, Hartlepool, Hyndburn and Bristol councils hadn’t prosecuted any landlords at all.
    In Newham there are apparently 25,500 registered landlords. The extra cost to them is £500. Only 18 have been banned under the scheme. It’s like keeping the whole school in after class because a couple of kids are naughty.
    The idea is well intentioned, and let’s hound out the crooks, but ultimately this proposed scheme means more costs and paperwork which once again penalises decent citizens.

  2. Bernard Costello says:

    Losing everything from a Business ,my Family, and subsequently a Roof over my head to a Conservative Governments mishandling of the UK economy approx 17 years ago which created a Recession . Renting was the only option open to myself and a broken family.
    I have found that most (and not what the statistics show )Landlords/ladys are A breed apart from the public and offer sparse accommodation with the least of whatever they can get away with .
    Housing Associations (in my own experience ) are as bad when tied in to Council Housing Listings with dreadful Cleaning and Maintenance plus anti social guidelines that Mr Hitler would have been proud of . It really is a case of them getting as much as the market allows them to with as least they have to offer. That’s Business in today’s World !. Landlords who appear at the door requiring more than first advertised is not uncommon , Off Radar when it comes to Revenue also is not uncommon , Extra Charges introduced for unmentioned services are not uncommon .
    Councils That have maintenance budget cuts means your lucky to see that repair done in a year or if at all . Non registration with the Bond Recovery means your Deposit will never be seen again !. Irrespective of Agencies and the like there to enforce the Bond Recovery.
    Nowadays things are different for myself with a different outlook on Renting / Mortgages, Banks and Lenders . Quite different in fact that I no longer live in the UK .

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