ED Miliband will vow to crack down on rogue landlords and letting agents, by outlawing excessive rent hikes and rip-off fees.
The Labour leader will also promise to stop tenants being “thrown out” for no reason after as little as eight months, by introducing the security of three-year deals.
Launching Labour’s local and European election campaign, Mr Miliband will pledge to stand up for “generation rent” which has been ignored for too long.
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And he will say: “If you buy your home, most estate agents will not charge you fees, but those who rent are given no protection and they get charged up to £500 just for signing a tenancy agreement.
“Many tenancies last just six months with families at risk of being thrown out after that with just two months’ notice - with no reason. Some are told to accept huge rent rises or face eviction.”
The package would: * Introduce three-year tenancies – which landlords could only break if the tenant fell into rent arrears or behaved badly, or if they wanted to sell up, or refurbish, the property.
Students, or business people on temporary contracts, would be able to request shorter-term tenancies, subject to the landlord’s agreement.
- Ban letting agents’ fees of up to £500 – although landlords would continue to pay charges.
- Introduce “predictable rents” – based on market value, with reviews carried out no more often than once a year, according to market conditions.
- “Excessive rises” would be outlawed, probably based on average market rents. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors is already examining such a benchmark.
The last idea will be the most controversial and was immediately attacked by the Conservatives as a “short-term gimmick” that would backfire.
Grant Shapps, the party chairman, said: “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.”
But Labour said the average cost of rents had leapt by 13 per cent since 2010, with tenants paying on average of £1,020 a year more.
In 2012, rent payments swallowed up 41 per cent of households’ gross income – more than social renters (30 per cent) and mortgage-payers (19 per cent).