Labour revives plan to protect private tenants

Ed Miliband says new regulations and a national register will deter 'rogue' landlords

Ed Miliband has laid out plans to protect tenants from "rogue landlords". In a keynote speech on the future of his party, Labour's leader revived calls for a national register of landlords – and greater powers for councils to bar the worst. He said the growing number of families in rented accommodation needed greater security of tenancy if they were to establish stable roots in their communities.

Mr Miliband launched his offensive on the potential exploitation of tenants after it was confirmed that 3.6 million households, including a million with children, are now renting privately – more than in the social rented sector for the first time in almost 50 years.

But landlords last night rejected the calls for more regulation, insisting that they were already governed by more than 100 laws, many of which were not being fully enforced by local councils.

"We cannot have two nations divided between those who own their own homes and those who rent," Mr Miliband told the Fabian Society. "Most people who rent have responsible landlords and rental agencies. But there are too many rogue landlords and agencies, either providing accommodation which is unfit or ripping off their tenants.

"And too many families face the doubt of a two-month notice period before being evicted. Imagine being a parent with kids settled in a local school, and your family settled in your home for two, three, four years, facing that sort of uncertainty." Landlords insist that the cost of a national register, estimated by Labour at £300m, would amount to a tax on both tenants and landlords "at just the moment we need more rented housing". The plan for a register, originally proposed by the last Labour government, was abandoned by the coalition, which said it did not want to impose "burdensome red tape and bureaucracy".

Alan Ward, of the Residential Landlords Association, said yesterday that many tenants did not want to be tied to longer rental agreements. He said: "It is a two-part contract and if they sign for a longer period they will also be committed to stay for that length of time. There are over a hundred laws controlling the private rented sector, but they are not being properly enforced. We do not want more regulations, we want councils to enforce the ones they have, in order to catch the minority of landlords who are criminal."

Mr Miliband's pledge to protect private tenants is the latest phase of a strategy to set his leadership apart from New Labour, which he conceded was "too timid in enforcing rights and responsibilities, especially at the top, and it was too sanguine about the consequences of the rampant free markets. By the time we left office, too many people didn't feel as if the Labour Party was open to their influence, or listening to them," he said.

"One-nation Labour has learnt the lessons of the financial crisis. It begins from the truth that New Labour did not do enough to bring about structural change in our economy to make it work for the many, not just the few. It did not do enough to change the rules of the game that were holding our economy back," he added.

The housing charity Shelter applauded his blueprint yesterday. Its chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: "With homeownership slipping further out of reach for ordinary families, millions are bearing the brunt of Britain's overheated private rental market. Every day Shelter sees the misery caused by rogue landlords, and hears from families worried about another rent rise or sudden eviction from their home."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve