16 Jun

DM & Co Property Column: Hung up on the general election

After a general election that just about disappointed everyone, except perhaps labour supporters who were encouraged by Jeremy Corbyn's performance, the UK is left with another period of uncertainty as Theresa May works to put together a government.

One would imagine that in hindsight the conservatives will be regretting not just the latest decision to call a general election, but also the decision to hold an EU referendum, with the divisive result of the latter leading to David Cameron's resignation.

Whilst of course investors and commentators are prone to getting skittish in these times of political uncertainty, it is worth keeping a cool head and looking to the fundamentals of the UK property market. Governments have failed to build sufficient levels of new homes for decades now, and this is the primary factor influencing house prices.

The new housing minister, Alok Sharma, now the 15th since 2000, will have an opportunity to adopt a more sensible housing policy, focusing on getting first-time buyers out of the rental trap, getting the right homes built in the right places, but also having a more even-handed approach to private landlords, given that indeed rental properties are an important part of housing the population.

In more sombre news, the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower serves as a reminder that all landlords, private or as part of a company need to take the safety of residents as the primary concern. Particularly, homes of multiple occupation need special safety considerations, not least electrical safety. What is even more upsetting in this case is that residents had raised safety concerns. Hopefully lessons will be learned; tenants are right to be vocal about concerns and landlords have a duty of care to ensure that their tenants are safe. Of course our thoughts are with those affected by the tragic event.

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