Here you'll find the raft of issues we're campaigning on here at the HomeOwners Alliance to get homeowners and aspiring homeowners a better deal
We campaign for government and industry to give a better deal to homeowners, to help more people to realise their dream of owning their own home, and to make buying, selling, managing and improving a home less difficult and expensive. We campaign on issues of concern raised by our members and our Annual Homeowner Survey. We get change by publishing research, speaking out in the media and providing them with case studies, and lobbying ministers, MPs, government officials, regulators and industry participants. We also work closely with other groups who share our aims.
As the only consumer group for homeowners in the UK, we have been extremely successful in getting change:
- a new higher rate of stamp duty for property investors, to help homebuyers compete in the market place. We proposed the policy for stamp duty change in 2013. The government announced it in 2015.
- reform of stamp duty to make it less burdensome on first time buyers. See our 2013 report Stamping on Aspiration. The government announced its comprehensive reforms a year later.
- an increase in the tax-free Rent-a-Room allowance for homeowners with lodgers, from £4250 to £7500. We called for the increase in 2013, and the government raised the allowance in 2016
- the ban on the sale of new build houses as leasehold rather than freehold, which we called for in our report on leasehold reform Homes Held Hostage. Our report came out in April 2017, and the government pledged to introduce the changes a few months later.
Current major campaigns
Leasehold Reform: banning new build leasehold houses is just a start, and ultimately we would like to see the leasehold system phased out. We have called for legal caps on ground rents of all properties as a proportion of the value of a property, and for a ban on ground rent on all new leasehold properties and lease extensions. See our recommendations to government here.
Better new build: Too often homebuyers have problems with their new build homes, and end up in disputes with their developers. We want better quality new homes, and better consumer protection, with an ombudsman to help in disputes between new home buyers and developers. Read all about our new build campaign here and specifically our call for a mandatory snagging retention.
Fairer estate agents: Too many homeowners get taken advantage of by estate agents. We need stronger regulation of estate agents, more transparency over fees and sellers’ continuing liabilities to agents, ending unfair contracts, and banning estate agents from offering services to buyers.
Reform the homebuying process: buying or selling a home is too uncertain, takes too long, and is too expensive. One in three house sales falls through, and people can still be left with the costs. We need to make the buying and selling of houses more certain and predictable, stamping out gazumping by requiring that if a seller pulls out of a purchase before exchange, they should be required to pay the costs the buyer has incurred. Read more about our campaign for home selling and buying reform.
More homeownership: the proportion of people owning their own home has declined to the lowest level since the 1980s, and there are now 5 million people who want to own their home but don’t. Reversing this trend is our foundation campaign, kicked off with our landmark report Death of a Dream in 2012. We need more new homes, and make it easier for older people to downsize if they want to. See our homeownership campaign page here.
We continue to campaign on other issues:
- Management of shared open spaces on new build estates: often councils don’t adopt them, and there is room for exploitation as those having to pay a service charge for its upkeep have no means to challenge these charges
- Abolishing VAT on extensions and improvements: you don’t pay VAT if you buy a new house, but you do if you buy a new bedroom. It is time to level the playing field, and stop taxing improvements. Read more about our campaign to slash the cost of home improvements here.
- Stamp duty reform: more is needed, as it is at such high levels that it is distorting the market. The rate should come down, and it should be paid by sellers rather than buyers
- Regulation of builders: homeowners still need more protection from rogue builders