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The new year is here, December has come and gone, but my fingers have remained still on the keyboard. We have had a general election and despite the many expectations of a different result, Mr Johnson is our Prime Minister with an over-whelming victory.
Why have I not, with excitement, been penning my little pieces to encourage the private landlord sector in the new year? Sorry to say, I have not found anything to be particularly cheerful about.
I generally try not to be too party political; my views are my own and very much influenced by what I hear and read – often negatively. I do not mind Boris Johnson being the Prime Minister, as I would not mind Mr Corbyn, had he won the election instead of starting the downward slope to obscurity. But what I am disappointed about is the absence of the private sector in any discussions on housing.
We have never had such a well-qualified younger generation; but we have also perhaps never had a younger generation that start their working lives with the often-large debt of student loans. Whilst Mr Johnson aims his rhetoric at a home-buying population, many in their 20’s cannot consider home-ownership; many also do not want to contemplate staying in the parental home into their 30’s, no matter how sensible that may seem.
For relatively well-paid, aspirational young people, unable to purchase does not mean that they do not want their own, decent home, possibly with the wow-factor; this is what they aspire to, until they are in a position to buy, feel they have found a job that will offer them security and a property that will meet their dreams.
So what has been announced for this new year that will help this (growing) category of people who would prefer the option of a settled environment until they have raised a sufficient deposit to achieve their long-term goal of home-ownership?
The answer is – nothing. It appears there will be funds to provide starter homes, though past funding seems to have provided expensive properties which most of us would not consider ‘first-rung-on-the-ladder’ properties; they do not appear to be available to help those struggling to buy their first nest, but to be detached properties. For those that do not meet the criteria for assistance, they must either fund themselves, or look to the private rented sector for their dream homes.
We can only hope in this new year that the new cabinet will remember the needs of what appears to be a hidden sector whose needs can be ignored, if they cannot take advantage of the largesse of the Government.
I might have held out more hope as the Minister of State for Housing, Esther McVey, is a northern MP. A northern MP with a constituency in Tatton, Cheshire. Former social housing, sold under Right-to-Buy, achieves sums well in excess of £200,000. Whilst current homeowners can feel proud in their purchases, what opportunity will their children have?
Landlords, write to your MP’s this new year, remind them of the valuable work you do. Don’t be ignored, and don’t let your tenants live in a no-man’s land, unheard, unseen, unconsidered.
And a happy new year to all for 2020!
For advice on buy to let issues – Ask Sharon