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Rent Controls in The UK – What Would They Mean For Landlords?

It all comes down to winning votes. While the Conservative Party managed to scrape through the general election earlier this year, Theresa May’s overall approval rating fell to just 30% in October according to BMG Research, which makes Donald Trump (on 42%) look like Abraham Lincoln.

The closeness of this year’s general election clearly surprised the Conservatives but one look at the statistics regarding the wealth gap in the UK at the moment should have prepared them for what happened. The rise in property prices over the past 20 years means that the wealthiest 10% of the UK population have 45% of the wealth, with each of those 600,000 people having around £1.3m to their name, research by the think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research has found.

However, this 10% of the population is nowhere near enough to win an election in perpetuity especially when there are another 50% of voters that are worth just £3,200 each, accounting for just 9% of Britain’s money. The report claimed that the situation is getting worse and one of the biggest drivers for this is an ‘uneven’ housing market. While home ownership grew among all regions and income groups during the 1990s and early-2000s – helping to compress wealth inequality – it has been falling since the mid-2000s and is now at its lowest rate for 30 years.

By 2021, Knight Frank expects almost 5.8m households to be living in the private rented sector (PRS). That equates to almost 10 times as many voters compared to those that are worth more than £1m, and these tenants are fast turning into potential election winners. By the time of the next general election, there will be three times more households renting than there will be landlords, and most households consist of two voters. That is a 6-to-1 ratio that does not bode well for landlords, as many have been discovering recently thanks to government policies being introduced like making landlords pay more in stamp duty when buying a home and paying tax on rental income, even if the ‘business’ is making a loss.

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