Confiscating rental properties would not raise market standards

Proposals from Labour leadership hopeful Andy Burnham to confiscate rental properties that do not meet the decent homes standard would not improve the market, a leading property consultancy has warned.

In a major speech on housing and devolution, Andy Burnham called for councils to be given new powers to seize rental properties that fell short of the decent homes standard.

But such a move would burden councils with extra costs without improving living conditions for renters, says Daniel Watney LLP.

If councils and central government wanted to help private tenants, they should instead encourage greater institutional investment into the rental market, and support the construction of purpose-built rental accommodation that is professionally managed over the long term.

Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney, said:

“Ensuring everyone has access to decent housing is the responsibility of every government but proposals to confiscate badly maintained rental properties would burden councils without raising standards in the market.”

“Encouraging institutional investment and increasing the supply of purpose built professionally managed rental accommodation would do far more to improve the market in the long term, without stretching councils’ resources further.”