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This land is our land

By J

Manifesto series (in order of publication)


Lib Dem




I want to like the Greens. I really do. But I can’t shake the concern that they are fundamentally opposed to development on the scale needed to address our national problems (because they are a conservationist party) and that the fact that very few have ever held meaningful political power leads them to pithy and simplistic answers to complex problems.

Sadly, the housing elements of their manifesto don’t shake either concern. For one, it feels much shorter and less detailed than either the Conservatives or Lib Dems. But more importantly, the policies are, frankly, a drop in the ocean.

They plainly have a significant internal party divide on the scale of housebuilding required. They try to bridge this divide by suggesting that there is significant low hanging fruit to be picked if only local authorities would purchase/refurbish older stock. This is a drop in the ocean which will cost a fortune. Is the proposal to use compulsory purchase powers? If so, how do we get those made more simple and cheaper? Or is there to be a new power? If so, applying what criteria? Or is this open market sales? How is it to be funded? How do we ensure LAs don’t just acquire the worst properties and then have to spend years bringing them up to scratch? If you want to repurpose (empty) private sector properties you’re better off reforming the Empty Dwelling Management Order regime.

(although not on the front page of their website I’ve found a document suggesting it’d be available where a property had been empty for 6 months or had an EPC rating of B or lower)

We have support for rent controls which, broadly, I’d agree with. But you need rent controls with a huge increase in supply. Similarly, they support a “new stable rental tenancy and an end to no-fault evictions” but what does that mean?

Finally, we have a new “Private residential tenancy board” to provide an “informal, cheap and speedy forum for resolving disputes before they reach a tribunal”. Detail here would be really important! Do they mean “tribunal” in the narrow sense (i.e. FTT) or do they mean “tribunal” as including courts? What would this body do? Would legal aid be available? Would it be able to bind landlords and tenants (and, if so, why would it be different to a court?)



J is a barrister. He considers housing law to be the single greatest kind of law known to humankind and finds it very odd that so few people share this view.


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