RLA: Labour’s plans could destroy the PRS

Michael Lloyd

November 25, 2019

The Labour Party’s plans for a private renters’ charter which would include a national ‘property MOT’ could destroy the private rented sector, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

Labour’s proposed national ‘property MOT’ would introduce a legal requirement for landlords to complete an independent annual inspection.

And Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (pictured)  has threatened tough fines and forced repayment of rent to tenants if landlords let out sub-standard properties or flout the rules.

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.”

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

However, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has criticised Labour’s ideas and said that they they would drive thousands of landlords out of the sector and lead to a shortage of properties.

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, added: “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.

“The sector does not need new obligations, but better enforcement of those that already exist.

“We hope that should Labour come to power they will work with us to bring in proposals that would better protect tenants against criminal landlords whilst still encouraging good landlords to invest in the supply that is needed to meet demand.”

The party also proposed open-ended tenancies and new minimum standards backed by its new property MOT and new local enforcement powers.

John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, said: “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.

“Many landlords provide decent homes that tenants are happy with, but the Conservatives have gifted rogue landlords the freedom to flourish. Labour will put bad landlords out of business.

“Labour will legislate in year one for a new charter of renters’ rights, with open-ended tenancies, new minimum standards and rent controls to make renting more affordable. We will make private renting a better option for all.”

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