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Home / Tenants Contents Insurance / The Government needs to encourage buy to rent and landlords

  • Jason McClean
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ACCORDING to research by Your Move, 61% of all renters in the UK are now above the age of 35. A whopping 40% of all renters are aged over 46. That bucks the myth that renters are mainly young people that cannot afford their own house purchase. It means we should be encouraging more buy to rent and landlords rather than persecuting this class.

I also think this shows something else more fundamental. Not everyone wants to buy or own a property. I heard about an ex policeman recently, who is in his mid-fifties who sold his house so he could go travelling. When he gets back he is happy to go into rented. He wants to spend his money and enjoy life rather than having it tied up in a fixed asset such as a property.

And I think many more people are taking this view as well. This debunks the idea that everyone in the UK is a property junkie obsessed with how much their home is worth. It clearly shows a mobile middle aged and elderly population that likes the freedom of choice that having no property ownership allows.

Indeed, with only 39% of renters being under the age of 35, it means a high proportion of them are either getting o the property ladder early or still living with mum and dad. I cannot help but think the media and Government obsession with home ownership has gone past aspirational and is now coercive to this younger group. They feel if they don’t have their own property they are missing out, when as this survey suggests, it may be the opposite is true. The older generation are finding freedom without mortgages and can live the lives they want.

There is a real disconnect between Government policy and home ownership in the UK. People are being told to buy their own houses, but back in the 1980s when home ownership really hit the big time, it was aspirational, not mandatory. Have a successful couple of years and you might want to buy a house. Now it appears spotty 18 year-olds straight out of school are demanding their right to own detached properties in Chelsea as a human right.

I understand why the Government espouses home ownership. If you buy a house, you are not a cost to the Government to build or supply accommodation. And right now with reducing council housing availability and a stalled building programme, buying a house may be the only option – that or homelessness. But it is very wrong that the onus for housing is now on the population to buy rather than to rent.

Renting is more affordable on a monthly basis and very much more portable. So if you need to move for a new job or any other reason, you can quickly and easily.

Once again, the Government is directing population behaviour to buy and remove the housing crisis from its responsibilities. But as this survey shows, the older generation now wants more mobility. Sooner or later, the younger generation will feel the same and the demand for rental properties will continue to grow – as it does anyway due to a massive lack of supply compared to population.

All of that makes me wonder why on earth the Government then hits the council housing and then private rental sector with massive disadvantages and penalties. These actions will reduce house building and supply just as demand is increasing from all quarters. It’s a hopelessly outdated policy by the Government to try to discourage renting and increase ownership.

Let’s hope the Government gets back on track with what the public actually wants soon and adjusts its policies accordingly. It can start by abolishing the unfair C24 Tenant Tax and extra stamp duty on second homes for a start. Find out more about these here.

And if you are a tenant that needs tenant’s contents insurance, then please contact The Home Insurer for a low price quote to save you money – another benefit of being a tenant is that most insurance policies are around half that of home owners as you don’t need to insure the building.

Jason McClean

The Property Insurer

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