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03 April 2020

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General Election 2019 – Time to regulate and reform the Housing Sector

Monday 04 November 2019

Ahead of the political parties finalising their manifestos for the forthcoming General Election, Propertymark has published its own ‘manifesto’ calling on the new Government to regulate and reform the housing sector.

Top of the billing is the regulation of property agents. Propertymark is calling for the new Government to take forward the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) Working Group chaired by Lord Best. Regulation offers huge potential to professionalise the sector through a code of practice, licensing and qualifications.

Alongside regulation, the new Government should open access to the existing Database for Rogue landlords and Property Agents to tenants, agents and regulatory bodies in addition to local authorities. The database should also be merged with estate agents to limit rogue agents moving from lettings into sales.

The current Government has committed to bringing forward legislation to ensure that, in future, apart from in exceptional circumstances, all new houses will be sold on a freehold basis. Propertymark goes further calling for legislation to ensure developers remedy leasehold agreements containing onerous clauses; encouraging mortgage lenders to lend to buyers of these properties and further encourage the sale of existing leaseholder properties.

Estate agents and homeowners would also benefit from the following calls:

Exempt downsizers from stamp duty or give them incentives to encourage them to move. Specifically aimed at pensioners this measure should be accompanied by a programme of building for specialised homes for older people and the introduction of over-65s bonds for downsizers.
Introduce a digital logbook for every property bought and sold to cut down on failed property transactions and speed up the buying and selling process.
At present seven million homes remain excluded from flood insurance coverage under the Flood Re levy and pool system that replaced the statement of principles between Government and insurance companies.  Propertymark is calling on the new Government to extend the Flood Reinsurance obligation to the leasehold sector and Private Rented Sector.   

Other measures Propertymark is calling for include:

  • Abolish the 3% surcharge on additional residential properties
  • Introduction of property MOTs
  • Reform of the Court system
  • Ending the Local Housing Allowance Cap and improving how Universal Credit operates
  • A Review of landlord taxes
  • Introduction of new regulations for short term lets
  • Help for the Private Rented Sector with Energy efficiency and climate change

Download the Propertymark Election Manifesto

For further information contact Timothy Douglas, Senior Policy & Campaigns Officer via email timothydouglas@propertymark.co.uk and telephone 01926 417777.