Why All Political Parties Are Anti-Landlord

Posted on June 19th, 2020.

Rolling the clock back to the early days of Buy-To-Let in the mid-1990’s, the general consensus was that The Conservatives were pro-Landlord , Labour pro-Tenant and The Lib-Dems somewhere in between.

Fast forward to the present day and things are very different. Its no secret that we have seen the most significant changes in the Buy-To-Let sector over the past decade under The Conservatives. A lorry-load of regulations and revised taxation rules have squeezed the margins of Investors. The thinking behind it, rightly or wrongly, was to increase the availability of homes to first-time buyers that would normally be snapped up by Investors. As ever, its been to left to Private Landlords to take up the mantle each time the housing market is in choppy waters.

With house prices stuttering and subdued sales activity, Investors are the ones providing housing solutions. Yet, despite that, Government pro-tenant policies and pressure groups have unfavourably portrayed Private Landlords. So much so that the image of the average Investor has gone from being someone investing their hard earned for passive income (comes in handy in later life!) to ruthless capitalists exploiting those who cannot afford to buy.

Labour and Lib-Dems would have followed suit, though the shocking thing is that this “Landlord bashing” we have seen in the past decade has come from the supposedly pro-Landlord party. The extension of the eviction ban could also leave the rentals market vulnerable to shocks. It’s hard to imagine this coming from the Pro-Landlord party of yesteryear.

In the early days of Buy-To-Let, back in the mid-1990’s, the general consensus was that The Conservatives were pro-Landlord , Labour, pro-Tenant and The Lib-Dems somewhere in between.

Fast forward to the present day and things are very different. Its no secret that we have seen the most significant changes in the Buy-To-Let sector over the past decade under The Conservatives. A lorry-load of regulations and revised taxation have squeezed the margins of Investors. The thinking behind it, rightly or wrongly, was to increase the availability of homes to first-time buyers that would normally be snapped by Investors.Ironically, it has been left to Private Landlords to take up the mantle each time the housing market is in choppy waters.

With subdued sales activity and house prices stuttering, Investors are the ones providing housing solutions. Yet, despite that, Government pro-tenant policies and pressure groups have unfavourably portrayed Private Landlords. So much so that the image of the average buy-to-let Landlord has gone from being someone investing their hard earned for passive income (comes in handy in later life!) to ruthless capitalists exploiting those who cannot afford to buy.

Labour and Lib-Dems would have followed suit, though the shocking thing is that this “Landlord bashing” we have seen in the past decade has come from the supposedly pro-Landlord party.

The extension of the eviction ban last month was announced with hardly any consultation, catching the trade bodies by surprise. Its hard to imagine this coming from the Pro-Landlord party of yesteryear.

What’s Changed ?

The Private Rental Sector (PRS) now makes up for 20% of all housing in the UK or 1 in every 5 people renting their home. Now too big to ignore , its high up on the political agenda of all parties.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released data showing that the number of households privately renting in the UK rose from 2.8m in 2007 to 4.5m in 2017 – that’s a rise of 63 per cent in one decade, and counting.

There has been an increase in families and older people now renting, though the 2019 statistics show that some 51 % of tenants are aged between 18-34. Both main parties are always trying to attract the younger vote.


YouGov research of 11,590 adults in October last year showed the case in point: 

Amongst 18-24-year olds, 38 per cent said they would vote Labour (16 per cent Tory).

Amongst 25-29-year olds, 38 per cent Labour and 18 per cent Conservative.

Amongst 30 to 39-year olds, it was 33 per cent Labour and 23 per cent Tory.

Not until 40-plus did the Conservatives outweigh Labour, and for the oldest sector of 70-years-plus, it was overwhelming: 58 per cent Conservative and only nine per cent Labour.

The Conservatives won a large proportion of the younger vote in their election victory last year. Having pro-tenant policies was their secret weapon giving Boris Johnson and the Tories a big majority.

Both Labour and the Conservatives put out various “sweeteners” in their Campaigns to woo young voters. Promises to scrap tuition fees, banning of no-fault evictions by abolishing Section 21 and other ‘pro-young’ policies.

The young vote has been in decline in recent years having become disillusioned with politics. After David Cameron’s 2015 General Election win, polling organisation Ipsos Mori discovered that just 43 per cent of 18 to 24-year olds voted, compared with 78 per cent of people aged 65 or over.

Many younger people may be studying away from home and some are not registered to vote. The challenge for parties of all colours has been how to attract the younger vote; issues concerning tuition fees and tenant rights are drawing them back to the polling booths up and down the Country.

So, will things ever change?

According to a recent report from the Office of National Statistics there are 2.6 million  landlords in the UK – when compared with 4.5m private rental households, many with two voters in each household. Based on these numbers it is easy to see why both major political parties have now turned on by-to-let as they scramble for votes.

Sadly, we cannot expect that to change any time soon.