Campaigns Regulation and Enforcement

Labour manifesto would leave tenants worse off

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

Rent controls and plans for open-ended tenancies have been included in the Labour Party manifesto, out today.

The RLA is concerned that some of the proposals included in the manifesto, such as longer tenancies, would hurt tenants if nothing is done to encourage and support good landlords to stay in the market long-term.

The association says 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. The RLA is also warning that plans to introduce rent controls linked to inflation will not work, with ONS data showing rents are increasing by less than inflation.

In relation to housing, the Labour party manifesto pledges to:

  • Give councils the powers and funding to buy back homes from private landlords.
  • Scrap Universal Credit. It pledges to “immediately stop moving people onto it and design an alternative system that treats people with dignity and respect.”
  • In the meantime, it pledges to end the five week wait to receive the first payment of Universal Credit “by introducing an interim payment based on half an estimated monthly entitlement.”
  • Increase the Local Housing Allowance and paying the housing element direct to landlords.
  • Review border controls to “make them more effective.”
  • Establish a new national levy on second homes used as holiday homes to help deal with the homelessness crisis.

David Smith, RLA policy director said:

“Labour’s plans would hurt tenants. 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.

Focus on supply needed

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

More information

The RLA has published its own six-point election manifesto highlighting the changes it believes are needed to create a PRS that works for all. You can read it here.

To find out more about recent statements from the three major parties on the issue of housing and PRS ahead of the publication of their manifestos click here. 

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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