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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Labour to cap rent rises at inflation

Labour say they plan to give generation rent a better and more secure future. Tomorrow Ed Miliband will announce Labour’s proposals to help working people who rent privately. He will say that the next Labour government will introduce legislation in its first Queen’s speech to:
  • Cap rents so they cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation (CPI) during secure three-year tenancies .
  • Require landlords and letting agents to disclose the rent levels charged to previous tenants so that householders can negotiate the best possible deal at the start of their contract.
  • Penalise rogue landlords by reducing buy-to-let tax relief for those who own hundreds of thousands of properties which do not meet basic standards.

These new announcements follow previous measures which the Labour party have already set out to help people who, they call, 'generation rent' including a plan for:
  • Secure three-year tenancies for all people who want them so landlords will no longer be able to terminate rental agreements simply to put rents up.
  • A ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants, saving the average household £625 over the next parliament.
  • A national register of landlords which will enable rogue landlords to be identified and judge whether their proper meet basic standards.

Labour say their plan is designed for the modern housing market in 2015 - not the 1980s - where pressure on working people means:
  • The housing crisis is making the dream of home ownership increasingly unaffordable with numbers of people owning their own house falling to their lowest level for 30 years.
  • There are 11 million people – including 1.5 million families with children – renting, with many forced to rent for the long term but stuck in a short term private rental market with the default tenancy agreement lasting just 6-12 months. 
  • Almost 50 per cent of private rented households are over the age of 35 and many of this group want the same security and stability they would have if they owned a home.

Labour say the Tory-led government has created "Generation Rent" and claim that millions of people face mounting costs in an insecure rental market:
  • Average rents are £1,200 higher now than they were in 2010
  • Letting agents’ fees have added an average of £355 on to the cost of renting a property
  • Many tenants face the prospect that their rent could jump up at any time from one year to the next with rents in Ealing Central, for example, rising by 14 per cent last year. 
  • 66 per cent of private renters would like the option of staying in their tenancy longer and 79 per cent would like more predictable rents.

Announcing the new policy, Labour leader, Ed Miliband is expected to say: "Britain only succeeds when working people succeed. But for so many people, life is tougher than it need be - not only at work - but also at home. Generation Rent are the young, families with children and middle income earners who being are priced out of the housing market. Labour will build the homes which local people want to buy. But we will never turn our backs on Generation Rent. And we want to encourage all those responsible landlords who provide decent homes for people and stable income form themselves."

"Labour has a better plan. The security of three year tenancies for all who want them with rents capped, so they can fall but not rise by more than inflation. The rights they need to negotiate a decent deal with landlords and stop rip-off letting fees. And the protection for taxpayers and tenants against bad landlords who are being subsidised for providing accommodation that fails to meet basic standards. This is a plan for a stable, decent, prosperous private rental market where landlords and tenants can succeed together."

Responding to the Labour announcement on twitter Communities Secretary Eric Pickles tweeted "Rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city except for bombing". Conservative leaning commentator Tim Montgomerie responded by saying "Tories react calmly to Labour's idea of rent controls".