With over £1bn poured into the Help to Buy scheme, the UK government is still treating those of us who prefer house rental or flat rental as second-class citizens. We ask why Britain’s 4.2m private tenants aren’t getting the property rental support they deserve.
Last week the Government announced that its Help to Buy scheme has supported 7,313 people to buy a home since October 2013. That’s all well and good, but where is the help for Britain’s 4.2 million private tenants, who prefer rental houses and rental flats or can’t afford to buy? David Cameron doesn’t seem to care about their right to a secure home. In the eyes of the Government – who seem to believe every family wants, and is able, to buy their own home – those who choose house rental or flat rental are second-class citizens.
A skewed approach to property rental
It starts with the lack of protection for long-term property rental in the UK against unreasonable rent rises. For long-term tenants, landlords can increase house and flat rental prices every year if they want. Landlords are by no means to blame. They are simply following the law and making the most of their investment. But it’s no surprise that the Telegraph reported recently that UK property rental prices are rising twice as fast wages, reaching an average of £753 per month in 2013. Although Labour has pledged to cap property rental increases if elected, this isn’t happening any time soon. How about security for private tenants? With the maximum length of a UK property rental agreement capped at a year – unlike other European countries, where property rentals last for decades at controlled prices – British tenants can never really settle. It’s a completely skewed approach that favours buyers over rental properties every time.
Inflating a new housing bubble?
Meanwhile, £1 billion has been ploughed into the Help to Buy scheme. Yet the scheme has been criticised by many housing experts for a number of failings – and rightly so. Experts say Help to Buy isn’t properly focused on helping people who really need it. The scheme is open to all first-time buyers, so it supports wealthy young professionals as much as struggling FTBs. Help to Buy is also accused of creating a new and dangerous housing bubble. By pushing up demand while supply of new housing is low, the scheme has already contributed to worrying price rises across the country.
Time for change
When will those in power open their eyes and start giving people in rental houses and rental apartments a fair deal? We can’t be sure, but EzyLet will call out their mistakes and fight for a fairer UK property rental deal until they do.