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Labour plans would devastate rented housing market

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Plans for rent controls, open-ended tenancies and property MOTs could close down the PRS, the RLA has warned.

Labour has pledged to put bad landlords out of business with new charter of renters’ rights.

However, the RLA believes changes would drive thousands of landlords out of the sector, leading to a massive shortage of properties driving rents up and increasing homelessness.

Rental housing crisis

David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), said: “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.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey will set out plans to deal with what they describe as ‘the problem of squalid private renting housing’ and ‘dodgy landlords’ tomorrow (Monday, November 25).

Property MOT

Under the plans a national ‘property MOT’,  would introduce a legal requirement for landlords to complete an independent annual inspection. Failing inspections or ignoring the rules would lead to what the party describes as ‘tough’ fines and forced repayment of rent to tenants.

And its new Private Renters’ Charter promises tenants:

  • rents capped at inflation nationally, powers for further controls for areas facing ‘run-away rents’ and Local Housing Allowance increased 
  • open-ended tenancies
  • new minimum standards, backed by a new annual property MOT and new local enforcement powers.

Jeremy 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.”

John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said: “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.”

Should Labour be successful on December 12 it has vowed to introduce legislation covering the private rented sector in the first Queen’s Speech of a new Labour Government, and pass legislation within a year to enshrine the new charter of renters’ rights.

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.
  • A recent research report from the RLA has shown that, far from making renting cheaper, rent controls can make it more expensive and more difficult for those looking for a home to rent. Read more here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


  • As a Surveyor with over 40 years experience in managing both commercial and residential properties, I welcome the comments made by the Labour Party as part of their election promises with regard the existing letting market for residential properties.
    For years now we are told that the existing system works fine and the market effectively self-regulates with Tenants avoiding those ‘rogue Landlords ‘ who provide either poor quality or over priced accommodation or both with the good Landlords reaping the benefits by getting the best Tenants.
    We as as a civilised nation need to ensure that all sectors of society are able to rent homes that are safe, secure and affordable. The state needs to be there to provide a safety net so that people no longer live in unsanitary and poorly maintained homes be they high rise flats, bed-sits or houses.

  • I have been a good landlord for the past 20 years, always responding immediately to my tenants whenever they contact me for whatever reason.
    I comply with all legal requirements and try to keep rents stable for as long as possible – many of my rents haven’t increased for in excess of 3 years and as a result I have retained my tenants for many years.
    However, Labour’s idea of an annual MOT is ludicrous. Bad landlords will continue to ignore the law whilst good landlord will have to burden the cost of this MOT. In my case, the MOT will not result in works being required as my properties are always in good condition. The cost would be the MOT itself as the inspectors will charge a fee plus the cost of attendance for the inspection. A reminder of the ill fated Labour HIP!! All that money paid out then it was cancelled.
    If this goes ahead, I will sell all my rental properties (some of which have people on housing benefits).
    Well done Labour !!

    • I have been carrying out House Inspections (MOT’s) annually for several years. There are always unforeseen repairs and quite often not reported by tenants.

      The MOT is an opportunity to ensure the house is kept in good condition and that the tenants are safe.
      This is not a burden and should be legislated to be carried out by all landlords.

  • I cannot believe that a Conservative government will be scrapping section 21 and as it is not possible for me to consider voting labour, I will have no option but to spoil my ballot paper.

  • I totally disagree as a good landlord of 2 properties I would be happy to participate in all Labours plans including the MOT, I make money from my properties and acknowledge there is a cost associated with this, making sure all landlords provide good quality housing is essential. As a previous tenant earlier in my life I know tenants often get a bad deal. However 1 problem I have found is that it is hard to evict difficult tenants (noisy/anti-social – non criminal) under any clause except section 21 and with HMO properties this is required when other tenants lives are being made a misery. So strengthening eviction laws in these situations is important whist giving the majority of tenants more rights and security.

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