RLA blasts Labour’s rent caps proposals

Michael Lloyd

November 22, 2019

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has blasted the Labour Party’s proposals to cap rents with inflation and give cities power to cap rents further.

Labour has said that it will introduce rent controls, open-ended tenancies, and new binding minimum standards.

Its manifesto read: “We will give renters the security they need to make their rented housing a home, with new open-ended tenancies to stop unfair, ‘no fault’ evictions.

“We will make sure every property is up to scratch with new minimum standards, enforced through nationwide licensing and tougher sanctions for landlords who flout the rules.

“We will fund new renters’ unions in every part of the country – to allow renters to organise and defend their rights.

“We will get rid of the discriminatory rules that require landlords to check people’s immigration status or that allow them to exclude people on housing benefit. We will give councils new powers to regulate short-term lets through companies such as Airbnb.”

However David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said that Labour’s plans would hurt tenants.

He added: “It wants longer tenancies yet is proposing nothing to encourage and support good landlords to stay in the market long-term.

“Whilst enabling tenants to remain in their property is a good thing, it needs to be matched by a system that gives confidence that landlords can swiftly regain possession of their properties in legitimate circumstances such as tenant rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.

“Nothing in Labour’s plans provide that assurance.

“Its plans for rent controls linked to inflation are also nonsense. The Office for National Statistics has shown that rents are increasing by less than inflation.

“The party has failed to heed the warning of the Labour chair of parliament’s housing committee who has previously warned that rising rents will only be addressed when more homes are built.

“The party’s former Housing Minister in Wales has also warned that rent controls serve only to reduce the quality of accommodation, choke off supply, and make it more difficult for tenants to find the homes to rent they need.

“We need to focus on providing more homes of every kind, including for private rent. Labour’s plans will fail to achieve this.”

Labour also plans to end the sale of new leasehold properties, abolish unfair fees and conditions and give leaseholders the right to buy their freehold at a price they can afford.

It also wants to introduce equivalent rights for freeholders on privately owned estates.

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