Labour Manifesto 2024: What’s In It For Housing?

Labour Manifesto 2024: What's In It For Housing?
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19 June 2024 – Last Thursday, the Labour Party released their manifesto entitled “Change.”

Although the document covers Labour’s pledges from delivering economic stability to cracking down on antisocial behaviour as its first steps, promises on property and housing were included among the details. 

The Labour Manifesto 2024 plans to include developments to improve the housing market, protect renters, and even help sales while detailing additions to planning and house building.

New steps to protecting renters’ rights

In 2020, two-year-old Awaab Ishak died from a respiratory condition caused by exposure to mould in his family’s Rochdale home, prompting Awaab’s Law, which forces social landlords to investigate safety hazards in their accommodation within a certain time frame. 

The Labour Manifesto plans to extend this from social landlords to the private sector, as included in the party’s plans to raise standards.

However, what immediately stands out is Labour’s direct decision to abolish Section 21 evictions, ‘no-fault’ evictions that allow landlords to evict without notice or reason. 

This comes as no surprise as this sentiment resonates on both sides of Parliament.

What matters is ensuring the replacement system works, and is fair, to both renters and responsible landlords.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association

This is included in the party’s adoption of key elements of the Renters Reform Bill which was featured prominently in Borris Johnson’s 2019 manifesto.

Furthering leasehold legislation

Labour’s Manifesto promises to look into how to better protect leaseholders from costs and take steps to accelerate the pace of remediation across the country, going beyond what Sunak’s government could not follow through on.

The party promises to enact the package of Law Commission proposals on leasehold enfranchisement, right to manage, and commonhold. 

Proposals such as commonhold ownership being a viable alternative to leasehold or houses being sold on a freehold basis, while flats are sold on a commonhold or leasehold basis depending on government regulations and incentives.

Expanding on current progress, the party plans to “ban new leasehold flats and ensure commonhold is the default tenure” and “tackle unregulated and unaffordable ground rent charges.” It also talks about ending the “injustice of leasehold private housing estates and unfair maintenance costs.” 

First-time buyer support

The Freedom to Buy scheme extends the mortgage guarantee to aid those who can’t save enough for a deposit but can afford mortgage repayments. In spite of being announced way ahead of the manifesto itself, this is the Labour Manifesto 2024’s attempt to win over the youth vote. 

This ties in with Labour’s policy of making first-time buyers (FTBs) a priority in new build developments, as a way to deal with the party’s claims of new estates falling to international investors even before construction.

Building better homes

Modular houses being built

When it comes to housing promises, Labour’s flagship project lies in its plans to kickstart economic growth by planning reform to build 1.5 million new homes. 

This is achieved by updating the National Policy Planning Framework, introducing mandatory housing targets, and reforming the planning system. New builds must comply with higher standards and sustainability targets, with the exception of nutrient neutrality protections.

Starmer’s party claims a lack of planning officers at local authorities hindered development, and plans to fix it with an increase in stamp duty surcharge on purchases by non-UK residents by 1%, that would allow Parliament to appoint 300 new planning officers.

In its commitment to build new towns, the party aims to break the grey of concrete car parks with a brownfield-first approach. But Labour has expressed an openness to more strategic approaches to ensure they meet the housing needs of the country.

Lastly, taxation reforms will be implemented to stop the use of offshore trusts to escape paying inheritance tax. Labour hopes to end this loophole and provide equal taxes for all who have homes in the UK.

Our verdict on the Labour Manifesto 2024

One of the biggest issues the housing market faces at the moment is a lack of supply. There just aren’t enough residential properties available. This pushes up prices, making the dream of buying a home unachievable for many.

Labour seems to be prepared to address this shortage of housing stock, promising to build 1.5 million homes. Committing to a target is one thing, achieving it quite another. So we will have to wait and see if they can deliver, should they get the keys to No. 10.

However, the party does also propose to reform the planning system, which is overdue and could increase the number of homes that are built in the UK.

While the building of new houses is vital to address the issues faced by many buyers, it will take time to take an effect. In the meantime, the biggest concerns are high mortgage rates and high prices.

Now that inflation has come down to 2%, the BoE is expected to lower interest rates, which will in turn result in lower mortgage rates. But this is likely to bring buyers to market who were putting their purchase on hold, which in turn will push prices upwards again.

It’s a bit of a dilemma, one that the manifesto doesn’t address.


  • News Desk

    Our news desk team includes a qualified architect, a freelance journalist, and a fanatical property expert who has over 12 years experience in the industry.

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