Property Expert Calls on Agents to Lobby New MPs on Housing Policy

A leading property expert has called on agents to actively lobby new MPs to influence the next Government’s housing policy – whoever wins the election.

Neil Cobbold, Commercial Director of Reapit|PayProp, said the politicians will be in ‘listening mode’ and property professionals will need to make themselves heard just as they did when they lobbied MPs to make changes to the Conservative’s Renters (Reform) Bill.

That bill failed to become law before Parliament was dissolved and candidates headed for the campaign trail.

 

At an election webinar for agents hosted by Reapit and PayProp, Cobbold said: “When we engage with those new MPs, we need to show them that we as an industry are the custodians of the real information about the housing sector.

“The more voices the better. If we can be the expert voices as agents and suppliers, we will be listened to in the coming parliamentary session – just as we saw in the final two years of the last one.”

 

Co-hosting the webinar with Cobbold was award-winning political expert, Simon Darby, from communications company PLMR.

 

Make headway

Darby said: “Looking at the polls it seems likely that we’re looking at a Labour government with either a reasonable majority, or a very big majority.

“If they do come into post, they’ll be looking at reform and regulation because these are things that can be done that don’t cost the government an enormous amount of money. Tweaks to markets become quite powerful in that environment because they don’t cost billions and can be enacted relatively quickly.

“A government that comes in after 14 years in opposition wants to make headway, and that puts the housing market generally, and the private rented sector in particular, under the spotlight.”

 

Eviction and planning reforms

What about those claims that a Labour government would abolish Section 21 evictions on Keir Starmer’s first day in office?

“The government will still have to go through the entire process. Measures may be in the King’s Speech – there will have to be a period of consultation because it’s a new Bill and then it will have to go through Parliament again. It’s probably going to take a year, perhaps two years, potentially.”

 

Labour’s proposals to build 1.5 million homes and reform planning laws also can’t happen overnight, as Darby explained.

“This is not the first time that we’ve gone into a general election with something of an arms race on numbers in terms of the level of housing.

“To achieve the numbers being talked about, the government will need to get planning reforms right, to make it significantly easier to build. Equally, lots of factors remain outside the control of central government when it comes to delivery.”

 

Willing to engage

“Labour is committed to growth and sees the planning system as a hindrance to development,” adds Darby. “I would see that area as being one where they are genuinely quite keen to have a fight and have real reform to try and make it easier to push these things through.

“Where the last government struggled because of grass-roots push-back or concerns from local government, Labour will find it slightly easier because they are willing to have the fight.

“But I can’t see those numbers stacking up without reforming the system and bringing back mandatory targets.”

 

Darby summed up by saying: “There will be a desire within The Labour Party to see reform in certain areas, but that’s not to say they won’t listen to business and industry.

“They want to do it in partnership, and they want an understanding that there are certain outcomes they want to see delivered. If you’re willing to engage constructively and you have data and realistic points that can be incorporated in a positive way, that will be taken seriously.”

 

Other topics covered during the webinar included:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Rent controls
  • Capital Gains Tax on main homes

Watch the recording of the webinar in full here.