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Government / Local politics

Shock survey result reveals that private landlords overwhelmingly vote Tory

Shock!

Nearly half the landlords we asked intend to vote Conservative in the upcoming election. That’s more than twice as many as Labour.

Horror!

David Cameron is by far the most popular party leader among landlords. Labour leader Ed Miliband is only slightly better-liked than UKIP’s Nigel Farage.

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Bafflement!

…if the Tories are counting on the votes of Britain’s landlords, they need to propose additional pro-landlord initiatives ahead of the General Election.

You hear that, Tories? You may have refused to lengthen tenancies, improve rights for renters, or build more bloody houses. You may have thrown an enormous amount of public money at ensuring that house prices float further and further into the stratosphere. But that’s not enough for some people. When are you going to do something nice for landlords?

The quotes above come from Rentify, a online agency which is trying to disrupt the housing industry by “provid[ing] landlords with a smarter, faster, and fairer lettings service”, and which surveyed 1,205 of its members on the upcoming election. What it found is that, shockingly, people whose money is all tied up in buy-to-let properties are more likely to vote for the party that most wants to keep house prices high and which identifies with capital rather than with labour.

I’m editorialising again, aren’t I? Sorry, force of habit, here are the numbers:

So, good news for tenants there – David Cameron is looking after your landlord. Let joy be unconfined.

As to their attitudes towards party’s housing policies as a whole, landlords were asked for marks out of 10. Here’s the result:

Now, none of those are exactly over-whelming support, but all the same let’s ask: what is it that might be driving landlords towards the Tories?

Aha.

By contrast, here’s Labour:

From the point of view of a tenant or a first-time buyer, every party’s housing policies leave a lot to be desired. Not one of them has come up with what looks like a credible plan to get Britain building on the scale that it needs to.

Nonetheless, there are elements of Labour’s plan – building more homes, taxing more property, tightening up tenants’ rights – that should make the party a more attractive option to private tenants than the Conservatives. The Tories, after all, have done nothing to suggest that they’ve even noticed that private tenants even exist.

George Spencer, the chief executive of Rentify, says at the top of the survey that he hopes its findings will “inform party policy… with the aim of making life easier for both landlords and tenants alike”. But this comment suggests a strangely muddled world-view – an ignorance of the fact those two groups do not actually have a shared set of interests. Often, they’re in a zero-sum game: when it comes to house prices, or landlords’ responsibilities, or tenants’ rights, what is good for one will be terrible for the other.

David Cameron will no doubt be delighted to hear that landlords think he’s looking out for their interests. Whether private tenants should feel the same is an entirely different question.
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