Labour have launched a pledge that under a Labour Government, there would be a new set of legal minimum standards for allprivate renters. This will protect renters living in ‘non-decent’ accommodation, who are currently being let down by this Conservative government, that has continued to weaken key legislation. Tougher fines for landlords who continue to rent out substandard housing would be introduced, and councils would be given the powers they need to tackle the worst offenders.
England has 1.3 million sub-standard private rented properties, which are home to 400,000 families with children. Tenants are spending £9.6 billion a year on homes which the government classes as ‘non-decent’. Around a quarter of this, approximately £2.3bn a year, is paid by housing benefit.
Jim Cunningham has welcomed this pledge saying:
‘Renters are too often overlooked within the housing market. This policy will help redress the balance between landlords and renters. The number of families renting from a private landlord has soared since 2010, but increasing numbers of families are being forced into living in substandard conditions, and are too frightened to speak out. This is unacceptable.
The Labour led Council in Newham have implemented a scheme similar to this, and it has led to 1,000 prosecutions and £2 million of council tax recovered, and £300,000 in housing benefit stopped.
In the West Midlands alone, there are 166,179 ‘non decent’ private rented homes, just under half of all private rented homes in the region. Under a Labour Government, there would be a new tougher framework for minimum standards. Landlords would also receive help to bring their properties up to scratch, through a new ‘private rented sector renewal’ loan.
Since 2010, the numbers of families owning their own homes has fallen, the number of new affordable homes being built has risen, and the numbers of those deemed homeless has also increased sharply. The housing crisis has continued to worsen. Under Labour, the standard of homes in the rental market would improve, and investment will be made to build more affordable homes, both for rent and to buy.’