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Labour vows to introduce rent controls and take on 'dodgy' landlords

Labour said it will introduce new controls to help renters take on "dodgy" landlords.

The party will announce a new national "property MOT" to deal with what they say is a problem with housing the private sector.

Labour says it will introduce a legal requirement whereby landlords will be made to carry out an independent annual inspection to make sure homes are up to scratch.

If the property is deemed to be inadequate, landlords could face fines of up to £100,000 and be forced to repay rent to tenants.

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Labour said its research found tenants collectively pay more than £10bn a year in rent to landlords letting out sub-standard homes.

According to its research, one in four homes privately rented nationally are classed as “non-decent”, meaning they are damp, cold, in disrepair or unsafe to live in.

The private renters charter to be introduced by Labour would include key rights.

These are:

  • Rents capped at inflation nationally and powers for further controls for areas facing high rent hikes, with local housing allowance increased to cover the cost of renting
  • Right to secure rented home, with new open-ended tenancies to protect tenants from unfair eviction
  • Right to a decent home, with new minimum standards, backed by a new annual property MOT and fresh local enforcement powers.

Labour leader 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.

“Labour will put power in the hands of tenants with our new charter of renters’ rights, a cap on private rents and funding for renters unions to support tenants to organise and defend their right to safe and secure housing.”

John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, said: “The power imbalance in the private rental market is at the heart of our housing crisis, with rents eating up too much of people’s pay, tenants afraid of eviction if they report problems, and families with children forced to uproot their lives at short notice.

Labour said its research found tenants collectively pay more than £10bn a year in rent to landlords letting out sub-standard homes. Credit: PA

“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.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “For decades renters have had to live with the fear of being evicted from their home for no reason, with damaging consequences particularly for families with children and the elderly.

“This election marks a major step forward in the battle to secure basic protections for those who rent, as Labour and the Conservatives have made clear that they will scrap this outrageous practice, and give renters the security and stability they deserve.”