Today Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, and John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, will set out plans to put power in the hands of tenants with a new ‘charter of renters’ rights’.
To deal with the problem of squalid privately rented housing, Labour will announce a new national ‘property MOT’. This 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.
New research by Labour has revealed that tenants collectively pay over £10bn a year in rent to landlords letting out sub-standard homes. 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:
• 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;
• The right to a secure rented home: with new open-ended tenancies, protecting tenants f from unfair eviction;
• The right to a decent rented home: with new minimum standards, backed by a new annual property MOT and fresh local enforcement powers.
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.
The power imbalance in the private rental market is at the heart of our housing crisis, with rents eating up too much of people’s pay, tenants afraid of eviction if they report problems, and families with children forced to uproot their lives at short notice.
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.
It’s time for real change – it’s time for a Labour government