New research reveals less than 5% of tenants who hope to get on the housing ladder will be able to take ownership of a discount starter home

Housing reforms put forward by Prime Minister David Cameron’s government will do little to further the home ownership dreams of many first-time buyers, says rent guarantee specialist Assetgrove.

The Housing and Planning Bill

The Housing and Planning Bill, which received Royal Assent in May after a prolonged period of parliamentary ping pong, has made headlines in the property press because of its measures designed to tackle rogue landlords. These include the introduction of…Banning orders for most prolific offenders;

  • A database of rogue landlords/property agents;
  • Civil penalties of up to £30,000;
  • The extension of Rent Repayment Orders;
  • A more robust Fit and Proper Person test for landlords; and
  • Rules enabling the sharing of Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme data.

But the new legislation also promotes the development of Starter Homes, which will be made available to qualifying first-time buyers at a discount of at least 20% less than their market value.

Research by pressure group Generation Rent reveals that less than 5% of tenants who hope to get on the housing ladder will be able to take ownership of a discount property.

This is because the government has said cash buyers will be able to take advantage of the discount scheme – as long as they are a first-time buyer aged between 23 and 40. 

Central London property business Plaza Estates says the number of people renting in the capital is unlikely to shrink. But landlords will continue to face the threat of void periods as certain tenant groups – including students and young professionals – seek to move home on a regular basis because their personal circumstances change more regularly than family groups of tenants.

Whether you are a private landlord with years of lettings experience or are new to the buy-to-let market, here’s 3 ways to limit the threat of void periods.

1. Provide a blank canvas

Tenants are more likely to stay in place if they feel able to treat a rental property as their own home. By decorating a buy-to-let investment in neutral, light tones, a tenant can use their own decorative items to add a personal touch to the property.

2. Keep lines of communication open

While running a rental property is a business-like commitment, it can pay dividends to take a leaf out of the retail trade’s rule book and respond to all communication from tenants promptly and with courtesy – even if this includes responding to demands for a replacement set of keys or the completion of a minor repair outside normal working hours.

Tenants who regard their landlord as fair and reasonable will think twice about moving out of your property.

3. Pay close attention to the property’s security

Tenants want to feel safe and secure in a rental property. By installing a burglar alarm, high-quality locks on exterior doors and window plus an exterior security light can not only deter break-ins, they give tenants peace of mind, says central London estate and letting agent LDG.

Alternatively, landlords can receive a fixed monthly fee for their rental property for up to five years by signing up to a rent guarantee scheme offered by Assetgrove.

This takes all of the hassle out of running one or a portfolio of rental properties because Assetgrove can take over every aspect of the property’s management, from finding tenants, maintaining the property and dealing with the collection of rent.


  1. avatar
    Joe Elvin