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Labour rent control plan “unlikely to succeed” says Resolution Foundation

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Labour’s proposal to introduce rent controls should the party triumph on December 12 has been deemed ‘unlikely to succeed’.

Independent think tank the Resolution Foundation has analysed both major party’s manifestos. It says the Tories need to do more to offer security for tenants – but that Labour proposals ‘go too far in the other direction’.


In respect of the Conservatives it says: “The Conservatives propose to introduce a ‘lifetime deposit’ scheme, helpfully allowing renters to roll over deposits from tenancy to tenancy. 

“More substantively, they commit to follow up on a recent consultation and end ‘no fault’ evictions by private landlords. 

“This is welcome, but will this give renters the much-needed security that many seek?  The policy has two potential shortcomings. 

“First, landlords will still be able to remove renters without fault simply by not renewing tenancies when they end – with the majority of families issued assured shorthold tenancies, that could mean security of little more than six to twelve months. 

“Second, without action to limit the ability of landlords to raise rents at whim, families could still in practice be at risk of a no-fault eviction if a landlord decides to use an unreasonable rent hike to regain possession.”


On Labour it says: “Labour’s programme for private renters recognises both these threats but potentially goes too far in the other direction. 

“It commits to align England with Scotland and introduce indeterminate tenancies that have no built-in end date (our verdict: good), but also to introduce rent controls, capping them within and between tenancies by inflation (our verdict: bad). 

“While a rent-smoothing mechanism that limits dramatic rent spikes over, say, a three year period would be a sensible way to protect tenants from arbitrary increases, holding down the true market price of private housing via enduring rent controls rather than increasing housing supply and reducing demand is unlikely to succeed. 

“Moreover, it is worth noting that while we would expect for rents to track earnings and therefore outpace inflation in the long run, the policy that Labour is suggesting would have done little to temper overall private rent levels over the past 15 years, which, except in London, have not outpaced the consumer price index in any region of the UK.”

To read the Resolution Foundation analysis in full click here.

Centre for Labour and Social Studies blog attacks ‘hostile environment’

The Centre for Labour and Social Studies has published a blog post by Olivia Bridge, political correspondent for the Immigration Advice Service on the hostile environment. 

In it she describes the ‘hostile environment’ policy, introduced by Theresa May as a ‘disease’.

She said: “The hostile environment has become a disease to this country, infecting every policy and law while conscripting unwilling participants as its gatekeeper. 

“For example, the Right to Rent scheme is the policy that forces landlords to verify the immigration status of every potential tenant or face prison time. 

“The same model is found within schools, hospitals and workplaces. 

“Even homeless charity outreach workers have had their hands tied to report migrant rough sleepers to immigration control – an instruction 11 councils have commendably disobeyed.

“Midwives and doctors have battled over the grave and often fatal impact the hostile environment is having on their patients as it emerges numerous are dying in the absence of being barred from life-saving treatment while others, including pregnant women, are refusing healthcare to avoid Home Office officials from billing them or deporting them.”

Following a Judicial Review of the Right to Rent policy, secured by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, and supported by the RLA, the presiding judge concluded that discrimination by landlords was taking place “because of the scheme.The government’s appeal against the ruling by the High Court that the Right to Rent breaches human rights law will be heard on January 14-15.

To read Olivia Bridge’s article in full click 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.

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