Promises, priorities and pledges... it must be General Election time. Zoopla has pored over the main parties’ manifestos to see what's planned for housing.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

For private renters, the Liberal Democrat manifesto says it will ban tenant fees charged by lettings agents (something the Conservatives already promised in last year's Autumn Statement) and cap upfront deposits, which can currently amount to six weeks' rent or more. 

It has also proposed a new Rent to Own scheme which would allow tenants to gain an increasing stake in the property with each rental payment, and own it outright after 30 years.

To tackle the housing shortage, which the manifesto describes as 'an emergency', the Lib Dems pledge to build 300,000 new homes a year, which is almost double the current level.  

As many as 10 new garden cities will  be created in England, claims the manifesto, offering tens of thousands of zero-carbon homes.

It also pledges to:

  • Increase the borrowing capacity of housing associations and lift the borrowing cap on local authorities to support social and council housing
  • Give the green light to local authorities to charge up to 200% council tax on second homes and so-called ‘buy-to-leave-empty’ investments bought by overseas investors
  • Permit local authorities to enforce housebuilding on unwanted public sector land
  • Penalise excessive land-banking (when builders fail to construct approved schemes after three years)

Above: The Liberal Democrats will permit councils to enforce housebuilding on unwanted public sector land

LABOUR

Labour's manifesto promises to create an entirely new Department for Housing. Its purpose will be to tackle the nation's housing crisis by improving the number, standards and affordability of homes.

For first-time homebuyers Labour will:

  •    Guarantee Help to Buy funding until 2027 (currently promised until 2020)
  •    Give local residents first dibs on new homes built in their area
  •    Reserve thousands of low-cost homes for first-time buyers

For private renters, the Labour manifesto pledges to make three-year tenancies the norm and place an inflation-linked cap on rent rises. Again, it will continue with the Conservative's promise to ban tenant fees charged by lettings agents.

Labour pledges to build at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for what it describes as 'affordable rent or sale', and create a generation of so-called New Towns.

It will also suspend the current Right to Buy scheme to protect affordable homes for locals. Councils will only able to resume sales if they can prove they have a plan to replace homes sold like-for-like.

It promises to scrap the controversial bedroom tax (or under-occupancy charge) that currently applies to social housing.

Finally, the manifesto features zero-carbon homes and a consultation on new rules for minimum space requirements in a bid to prevent ‘rabbit hutch’ properties.

Above: A new-build one-bedroom flat in Leicester for sale at £96,000 under the Help to Buy scheme, which Labour wants to extend until 2027

CONSERVATIVES

Not enough homes have been built in the UK for 'generations' according to the Conservative manifesto. Here's what the party plans to do about it:

  • Meet the commitment it made in 2015 to ‘deliver’ one million homes by the end of 2020, and a further 500,000 by the end of 2022
  •  Free up 'more land' for new homes
  •  Give councils the green light to intervene when developers fail to act on planning permissions
  • Enter into new council housing deals with 'pro-development' local authorities to help them build more social housing
  • Arrange new fixed-term social housing which can be sold automatically to tenants after 10 to 15 years, under a Right to Buy scheme

The Conservatives pledged particular support for 'high quality, high density housing' such as mansion blocks, mews houses and terraces. 

Above: A two-bedroom terrace in St Albans, Herfordshire for £425,000. The Conservatives pledge to support the building of 'high density' housing like this one.

The Conservatives also pledged they would, 'not ignore the consequences of an ageing population'. And this means harnessing the 'considerable property assets' many older people have built up.

The manifesto proposes the following:

  • The value of the family home will be taken into account (alongside any other assets and income) when it comes to paying for care. This will apply whether care is residential (in a nursing care home) or domiciliary (provided by the council in your own home)
  • Those in care will be able to retain the first £100,000 of their savings and assets, regardless of the cost 
  • All payments for care can be deferred until the home is sold. Deferred payments for residential care will be extended to those receiving care at home. 

The General Election will be held on Thursday, 8 June.

Want to know more? Find the other main parties' manifestos below:

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