General Election 2024: What do the party manifestos promise for housing?

Major political parties promise reform to housing, rent and property policies

As the general election draws closer, the key focuses on many people’s minds centre around what a change in government will mean for the property market.

Budding buyers are eager to know if there’s more hope on the horizon for their homeownership dreams, while renters seek more security within the rental landscape. But there’s one thing both demographics are equally desperate for – more affordable housing.

While we’ll all have to wait until next month to find out which political party will be leading the country and implementing their manifesto, we can share an insight into what the future of homeownership and renting could look like.

Here’s a breakdown of the commitments to housing outlined in each party’s 2024 manifestos.

What can you expect from the Liberal Democrats manifesto?

The Liberal Democrats promise to “ensure that everyone can access housing that meets their needs.” To tackle the shortage of affordable and social housing, improve energy efficiency in new-build properties and address leasehold issues, the Liberal Democrats are pledging to:

  • Build 380,000 new homes across the UK every year. This includes increasing social housing by 150,000 per year. Their aim is to produce this availability through new garden cities and community-led development of cities and towns.
  • Make renting fairer for renters by banning no-fault evictions (preventing landlords from terminating tenancies after the expiration of the fixed term without providing a reason), introducing three-year default tenancies and creating a national register of licensed landlords.
  • Give local authorities, which includes National Park Authorities, the powers to end the Right to Buy scheme in their areas.
  • Get rid of residential leaseholds and cap ground rents to a nominal fee to give homeowners more control over their property.

What are the Labour party promising to do in their manifesto?

Labour’s housing plan centres around getting Britain building again. This would involve:

  • Building 1.5 million new homes over the next parliamentary term, delivering the equivalent of 300,000 per year, with the aim of making housing more affordable. They are also aiming to increase the quality of new-build properties with an emphasis on these being well-designed and sustainable.
  • Prioritising first time buyer for new-build homes over overseas investors and introducing a mortgage guarantee scheme with smaller deposits and lower mortgage costs.
  • Delivering “the biggest increase in social and affordable housebuilding in a generation” by:
    • Strengthening planning agreements to ensure more affordable homes in new developments.
    • Updating the Affordable Homes Programme to deliver more homes from existing funding.
    • Prioritising new social rented homes and reviewing Right to Buy discounts to protect existing housing stock.

Regarding reforms and regulations, Labour plans to:

  • Reform planning by requiring updated Local Plans, increasing funding for council planning officers, prioritising brownfield site development, and protecting the green belt while strategically releasing land for necessary development.
  • Overhaul regulation of the private rental sector, putting an immediate ban on section 21 no-fault evictions. Renters would be given the power to challenge “unreasonable” rent increases and ‘Awaab’s Law’ would be extended to the private sector, requiring landlords to sort dangerous hazards within strict time limits.
  • Bring an end to the existing leasehold system, banning new leasehold flats, ensuring commonhold is the default tenure and addressing unaffordable ground rent charges and unreasonable maintenance costs.
  • Taking action to improve building safety and protecting leaseholders by promising a “renewed focus on ensuring those responsible for the building safety crisis pay to put it right”.

What are the Conservative party promising to deliver in their manifesto?

The Conservative party are promising to commit their housing efforts towards building “more houses in the right places”, giving more people more opportunities to live where they actually want to – “ near their family, friends and job”. They have outlined their commitment to:

  • Providing 1.6 million homes in England in the next parliamentary term. This includes abolishing the EU ‘nutrient neutrality’ to free up the building of 100,000 homes, with developers being legally permitted to pay a fee to minimise excess pollution.
  • Supporting first time buyers, helping more people to get on the property ladder:
  • Ensuring the majority of first time buyers won’t need to pay Stamp Duty, increasing the threshold at which this is required to £425,000 from £300,000.
  • Launching a new version of the Help to Buy scheme, offering first time buyers up to a 20% equity loan towards the cost of new-builds, requiring a 5% deposit.
  • A continuation of the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme.

The Conservative’s have outlined a regeneration plan with four main points:

  • Fast-tracking planning for new home builds on brownfield land in the 20 largest cities, emphasising urban densification, while protecting the green belt and promoting inner-city development.
  • Raising density levels in inner London to those of European cities like Paris and Barcelona, delivering more family homes every year, “forcing the Mayor to plan for more homes on brownfield sites, like underused industrial land”. Regeneration would also be in the pipeline for areas such as Euston, Old Oak Common and Thamesmead.
  • Implementing regeneration schemes in Leeds, Liverpool and York.
  • Renewing the Affordable Homes Programme, delivering homes of all tenures with a focus on regenerating existing housing estates.

Additionally, the manifesto promises a series of reforms to help protect renters and owners of leasehold homes:

  • Bringing the process of leasehold reform to completion, capping ground rents at £250 with the aim of eventually reducing this to peppercorn rates (meaning a token or nominal rent) while protecting leaseholders from forfeiture misuse.
  • Completing works on the Renters Reform Bill to make the rental market fairer for both landlords and renters, abolishing Section 21 no-fault evictions whilst allowing landlords to evict tenants carrying out anti-social behaviour.
  • Providing continued support for leaseholders with cladding replacement bills.

What are the Green Party setting out to do in their manifesto?

The Green Party has pledged to tackle the current housing crisis by providing more new social homes, increasing the availability to 150,000 every year. Their plan is to do this by:

  • Providing more new-build properties and purchasing/refurbishing older housing stock.
  • Introducing a community Right to Buy scheme for local councils covering a number of property types.
  • Discontinuing the individual Right to Buy scheme in a bid to give local communities priority access to social homes.

They’re also offering what they call a “fair deal” for renters pushing for:

  • Rent controls giving local authorities the power to control rents if the majority of locals are being priced out of the market.
  • Greater rental tenancy protection and an end to no-fault evictions as well as introducing  a tenants’ right to demand energy efficiency improvements.
  • Access to private residential tenancy boards, providing renters with an informal, affordable, quick forum, designed to resolve disputes to mitigate tribunals.

Furthermore their Right Homes, Right Place, Right Charter pledges to bring local authorities and governments together to “deliver homes people can afford to rent or buy, where people need them”. The manifesto outlines that the charter will:

  • Protect green space for communities.
  • Be more sustainable, reducing climate emissions.
  • Tackle fuel poverty.
  • Provide “genuinely affordable housing”.

What are Reform UK promising to do in their manifesto?

Reform UK promise to “ensure that people can own their own home by unleashing housebuilding across the country and cutting immigration” by:

  • Fast-tracking planning and tax incentives for development of brownfield sites and a ‘loose fit planning’ policy for large residential developments with preapproved guidelines and developer requirements.
  • Promoting innovations like modular construction and digital technology to improve building efficiency and reduce waste.
  • Prioritising “local people and those who have paid into the system”, with foreign nationals being placed at the back of the queue for social housing.
  • All potential charges for leasehold or freehold residents must be clearly stated and consented to. Enforce Section 106 agreements, and make it cheaper and easier to extend leases to 990 years and buy freeholds.

For landlords and renters, Reform UK plan to:

  • Encourage smaller landlords in the rental market by restoring rights to deduct finance costs and mortgage interest from rental income tax.
  • Improve monitoring, appeals and enforcement for rents with grievances as “existing legislation was inadequate to address bad practices.”

Not sure who to vote for?

We encourage you to read through each party’s manifesto to gain a deeper understanding of what they’re promising to deliver. Think about what matters most to you and try to identify which party best aligns with your current and future needs:

The general election will be taking place on Thursday 4th July 2024, so be sure to do as much research as you can before then.