Private renters to get Right to Buy

The Conservatives' controversial Right to Buy policy will be extended to private renters, according to leaked plans from the Tory manifesto. That means private renters will have the right to buy their own home after living there for five years.

This is a big move from the Conservatives, who have been scrambling around for a vote-winning policy that will help the thwarted first-time buyer, with Help to Buy loans, Rent to Buy, and the latest Help to Buy ISA. But this policy - a reboot of the popular sell-off of council homes in the 80s - actually takes on the landlords.

The news was reported in the Telegraph:

David Cameron will attempt to reproduce the electoral success of Margaret Thatcher’s heyday with his own generation-defining housing policy to boost levels of home ownership, the Telegraph has learned.

Under a new Conservative manifesto commitment, four million private renters will have the chance to buy their own home at a discount, potentially unlocking the votes the party needs for an overall majority.

In a move that may anger landlords, private renters who have lived in their property for more than five years will have the automatic right to buy their home at a 30 percent discount.

The Conservatives hope that this policy will capture the imagination of private renters who currently see the dream of home ownership fading, and deliver the party the thumping majorities they enjoyed in the 1980s when the Right to Buy helped millions of council tenants on to the housing ladder.

A senior party source said, “hard-working families are paying out huge rents when they would much rather be in a home they owned. They need to know that the Conservative Party is on the side of people who work hard and not certain parts of society who let others pay for their lavish lifestyles. That’s why we are offering private renters the chance to own the home they live in.”

For the past two decades, buy-to-let landlords have ridden roughshod over the housing market and created a captive market with no option but to pay crippling rents. It is about time that the parties recognised this and competed for the votes of private renters – so we welcome this move. The question is whether landlords will simply kick out tenants after four years before they have any chance of exercising their new right.

NOON UPDATE: April Fool! Soz.


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