percentage rise

17 Jun 24

Labour’s manifesto commitment to empower renters to challenge unreasonable rent increases has been slammed because it “would leave millions trapped in unaffordable homes for decades to come.”

That’s the view of one part of the so-called Renters Reform Coalition of groups demanding wholesale shift of power in the private rental sector to tenants. 

The London Renters Union says Labour’s proposals appear to repackage ideas in the now-scrapped Renters Reform Bill which would enable renters to legally challenge only those increases above ‘market rates.’ 

The Labour manifesto says: “Labour will legislate where the Conservatives have failed, overhauling the regulation of the private rented sector. We will immediately abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, prevent private renters being exploited and discriminated against, empower them to challenge unreasonable rent increases, and take steps to decisively raise standards, including extending ‘Awaab’s Law’ to the private sector.”

The LRU says: “This would leave most renters unprotected from the inflation-busting rent hikes sweeping through our overheated rental sector. The UK rental market is out of control. Average rents are rising above both inflation and incomes, with this trend set to continue for years. Skyrocketing housing costs are fuelling a 49% rise in evictions and forcing a record number of children into temporary accommodation.”

Siobhan Donnachie, a spokesperson for the London Renters Union, says: “Labour is right to recognise that government action is needed to tackle rising rents, but the vague proposals put forward today would leave millions unprotected from exploitatively high rents. More working families will be forced to skip meals to pay their landlords, or will be pushed out of the communities where they’ve lived for generations and into homelessness.

“Rising rents cost us all. Councils are unable to invest in social housing because they are haemorrhaging public funds to cover the cost of emergency homeless accommodation while the national housing benefit bill goes through the roof.

“If the next government does not make urgent and wide-reaching interventions, the housing emergency will deepen and ordinary people will pay the price. We need rent control now, and in the long-run, we need a shift away from a system that relies too heavily on unaccountable private landlords towards one with far more social homes.”

A representative of another group in the Renters Reform Coalition – Acorn – tweeted over the weekend that “Despite some positives, Labour’s manifesto is severely lacking in policies to combat the housing crisis.

“Extending Awaab’s law to cover private rented homes and ending Section 21 evictions are both positives. But the shortage of detailed commitments and policies that would turn the tide on the housing crisis is incredibly disappointing.

“Overwhelming support for rent controls across both Conservative AND Labour voters yet neither party have put rent controls on the table.  They’re not going to hand us rent controls from above. We’re going to fight for them.”

Generation Rent is less critical of the Labour rental sector proposals – the group’s chief executive has been a Labour candidate in the past – but still wants more details.

A Generation Rent spokesperson comments: “The Labour party’s commitment to rental reform is welcome, and this means that all major parties are now committed to abolishing the outdated and draconian Section 21 evictions that have become the bane of renters’ lives.

“Abolishing no-fault evictions was a promise at the 2019 election, and renters cannot wait any longer for this protection, so we’re pleased Labour has committed to doing this immediately.

“It is good that the manifesto recognises the various other ways renting isn’t working, including discrimination, exploitation, poor standards and rent increases, but we have little detail of what action the party would take.

“Too many tenants are forced out of their home by unaffordable rent rises so any new protections must help tenants stay put, rather than continue to allow landlords to push rents up faster than tenants’ wages. Rent rises should be limited to the lower of wage growth or inflation.

“Introducing Awaab’s Law to the private rented sector, equalising our protections with those of social tenants, would represent the righting of another wrong from the last parliament.

“The commitment to ‘ensure homes in the private rented sector meet minimum energy efficiency standards by 2030’ need to be robust enough to combat the challenges of fuel poverty that renters face – the standard must be EPC Band C. 

“It is right that Labour have committed to reform planning to deliver more homes, but this must deliver more homes that are affordable and allow those of us hurting the most right now to escape the renting crisis. This means an emphasis on new social homes, as well as protecting the existing stock, so commitments to review Right to Buy discounts and ‘protect newly-built social housing’ are also positive.”

Shelter is more supportive still of Labour’s proposals.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, says: “To fuel the economy, people need the foundation of a decent home. Labour’s commitment to the biggest increase in social housing in a generation is bold and desperately needed – to deliver real change we need 90,000 genuinely affordable social homes a year.  

“If Labour wants to hit its target of 1.5m homes by 2029, the only way to do this is to put social housing at the heart of their plans. Investment in new social homes would pay for itself in just three years and return an impressive £37.8 billion to the economy, including through jobs, savings to the NHS and benefits bill. 

“And, with Labour and every major party committed to ending no fault evictions, the next government now has a strong mandate to rapidly reform renting – making it safer, secure, and more affordable – no ifs, no buts.”

Link to original article

Thank you for reading

Need to discuss your issue? Confidential Call: 0208 088 0788 now.

Or fill in our contact form here.

Keep up with the latest from Landlord Licensing & Defence…

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to find all our videos on Regulations, RRO, HMOs and much more! 

Join our private Facebook Group where you’ll find a support network of other landlords and experts as well as case studies and how to avoid council fines.

Follow us on Social Media for the latest in Property and Licensing…

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}