Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Landlords will be forced to give three-year tenancies and excessive rent increases will be banned if Labour wins power next year, Ed Miliband will say today.
The opposition leader, who will be visiting the region, claimed families were being “priced out” by landlords and the moves would give families greater security and help them save cash.
Mr Miliband also said estate agents were charging up to £500 just for signing a tenancy agreement and his party would legislate to ban the charges by letting agents.
But the Tories claimed the policy was just another “short-term gimmick” labelling it a “Venezuelan-style” rent control.
While launching his European election campaign Mr Miliband will say: “One of the biggest causes of the cost of living crisis in our country is the price of renting or buying a home. People simply can’t afford it, they’re priced out, saving for a deposit year after year, decade after decade, or having to look for somewhere to live further and further away from where they go to work or where the kids have always gone to school.”
Nine million people are living in rented homes, including more than a million families, and more than two million children.
Tory chairman Grant Shapps said: “This is another short-term gimmick – political tampering from Ed Miliband. Evidence from Britain and around the world conclusively demonstrates that rent controls lead to poorer quality accommodation, fewer homes being rented and ultimately higher rents – hurting those most in need.
“The only way to raise people’s living standards is to grow the economy, cut people’s taxes and create more jobs. We have a long-term economic plan to do that, Ed Miliband doesn’t.”
The three year tenancies would start with a six month probation period at the end of which the landlord would be able to terminate the contract if tenant failed, the tenancy would automatically run for a further two and a half years.
Tenants would be able to terminate contracts after the first six months with one month notice as they can now.
Landlords would be able to terminate the contract if he or she wanted to sell the property, needed the property for their own or family use, planned to refurbish or change the use of the property.
Students or business people on temporary contracts would also be able to request shorter-term tenancies.
The average cost of rents has gone up by 13pc since 2010.