Corbyn says Labour will take on 'dodgy' landlords and revolutionise renting

25 November 2019, 09:35

Labour will work for greater tenants rights if they get into power
Labour will work for greater tenants rights if they get into power. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to take on landlords and introduce a new charter of renters’ rights while introducing a ‘property MOT.’

On Monday Jeremy Corbyn will announce a raft of measures to deal with what they say is the problem of squalid private rental housing.

The plans would introduce a legal requirement for landlords to complete an independent annual inspection to ensure homes are up to scratch, with tough fines and forced repayment of rent to tenants if landlords let out sub-standard properties or flout the rules.

Labour said its research has found that tenants collectively pay more than £10 billion a year in rent to landlords letting out sub-standard homes.

The party said that nationally one in four private rented homes are classed as "non-decent", meaning they are damp, cold, in disrepair or unsafe to live in.

Labour's private renters' charter will be based on three key rights, including the right to an affordable rented home, with rents capped at inflation nationally, powers for further controls for areas facing run-away rents and local housing allowance increased to cover the cost of renting.

Secondly, the right to a secure rented home, with new open-ended tenancies, protecting tenants from unfair eviction, and thirdly the right to a decent rented home, with new minimum standards, backed by a new annual property MOT and fresh local enforcement powers.

Labour said tenants pay more than £10 billion a year in rent to landlords letting out sub-standard homes
Labour said tenants pay more than £10 billion a year in rent to landlords letting out sub-standard homes. Picture: PA

Jeremy Corbyn said if there is a Labour majority government after the next election then his party will take on "dodgy landlords" and put the power in the hands of tenants.

Mr Corbyn said: “Labour will be on the side of tenants and take on dodgy landlords who have been given free rein for too long.

“Real change means taking on those who exploit the housing crisis to charge eye-watering rents for substandard accommodation.

“Labour will put power in the hands of tenants with our new charter of renters’ rights, a cap on private rents and funding for renters unions to support tenants to organise and defend their right to safe and secure housing.”

Landlord organisations have hit out at the plans
Landlord organisations have hit out at the plans. Picture: PA

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: "For decades renters have had to live with the fear of being evicted from their home for no reason, with damaging consequences particularly for families with children and the elderly.

"This election marks a major step forward in the battle to secure basic protections for those who rent, as Labour and the Conservatives have made clear that they will scrap this outrageous practice, and give renters the security and stability they deserve."

But the Residential Landlords Association claimed Labour's plans could close down the private rented sector, leading to more homelessness.

David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association he didn't think the plans had been thought through, saying Labour's proposals would lead to a serious rental housing crisis.

He said: "These proposals have not been thought through. We have been at the forefront of wanting to drive criminal landlords out of the market, but to place such ill-thought-out burdens on the majority of good landlords would lead to a serious rental housing crisis, which would only hurt tenants as they struggle to find a place to live."

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