Labour Party announces plans to cap private rents during visit to Kilburn
- Credit: Archant
The Labour Party will cap rents in the private sector if they win the General Election, the shadow minister for housing announced today during a visit to Kilburn.
Emma Reynolds MP made the pledge during a tour of Advice4Renters in Willesden Lane, where she heard from tenants living in Brent and Camden about the problems they face from their landlords.
Advice4Renters gives support and legal advice to private tenants.
Ms Reynolds said the Labour Party were “nervous” about introducing rent controls to stem the high cost facing tenants but would introduce a cap on the rent increases a landlord can charge.
She told the Times: “Private renters are getting a raw deal.
“Some areas where rents go up you look at what kind of measure they have. In spain for example they use a measure of inflation.
“That would give predictability and security for people for that longer term tenancy.
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Yuri Gonzalez, a single mother with an 11-year-old daughter Hayley Jones, told Ms Reynolds that she was given just three days by Brent Council to accept a property in Birmingham or face homelessness after she was evicted by her private landlord.
The family are currently living in a hostel in Sudbury.
Ms Gonzalez, who has started a new job at her daughter’s school in Wembley, said: “I have until Friday to decide. I hope the council listen to me and don’t make me homeless.”
Ms Reynolds said her party will also extend the minimum term for standard tenancies to prevent situations such as that facing Ms Gonzalez.
She said: “They (tenants) are getting insecure tenancies which are usually a year with a six month protection, so we’re going to lengthen the standard tenancies from a year to three years.
“That will become the norm and there would be a limit on the rent increases during the time of that tenancy, at the end of year one and the end of year two.”
The party also plan to ban charges levied on tenants by letting agents as Ms Reynolds said some were ‘making money out of thin air’ charging up to £500 in some cases.
“The simplest and fairest thing to do is tell the agent you work for the landlord but you should not be charging fees on tenants,” she said.
On January 1 this year Brent Council introduced a controversial licensing scheme for private landlords.
They must pay £340 per property they own for the five-year licence.
Giving the scheme the seal of approval, Ms Reynolds said: “This is a brilliant idea. It has worked well in other areas such as Newham.”
Cllr Margaret McClennan, lead member for housing at Brent Council, told the Times they will offer support to Ms Gonzalez and her daughter.