Rogue landlords who rent out sub-standard homes could be put out of business or face significant fines of up to £100,000, the Labour Party will announce later today (Monday).
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey will set out plans to introduce a new “charter of renters’ rights”, part of which will see private landlords handed a legal requirement to undertake an annual independent assessment of their property portfolios.
Labour says this new ‘property MOT’ will put power back into the hands of renters, some of whom Labour says are made to live in squalid living conditions due to damp, cold, disrepair or homes that are unsafe to live in.
The private rented sector has grown by over 1 million households, while genuinely affordable social housing remains in short supply. Labour says that one in four families with children now rent privately and 1.7 million private renters pay more than a third of their income in rents.
New research by Labour suggests that private tenants collectively pay over £10bn a year in rent to landlords letting out sub-standard homes, with one in four private rented homes classed as ‘non-decent’.
Labour has also pledged to cap private rents and increase Local Housing Allowance to help cover the cost of renting.
They would also give renters the right to a secure tenancy with new ‘open-ended tenancies’ to protect them from unfair evictions.
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, 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.”
John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, added: “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.”