Britain faces the biggest housing crisis in a generation with less than half the number of new homes we need being built.
The Tory-led government refuses to do anything about it. Their record is shocking with house building now at the lowest level since the 1920s.
I’ve spoken to many young people in Hitchin & Harpenden, who have all but given up on their dreams of ever owning their own homes. While the flexibility of renting may suit some, others have been forced into the private rented sector as the only available option.
But it’s not just young people who are affected; in England nine million people are living in rented homes today, over a million families, and over two million children.
Renters in East of England, are now paying on average £472 a year more in rent than they did in 2010. They face rip-off charges by letting agents, unpredictable jumps in their rent and insecure tenancies.
Despite paying more, renters also have to put up with poor standards with a third of homes in the private rented sector failing to meet the decent homes standard, more than any other tenure. The PRS also has the highest proportion of the very worst properties in terms of energy efficiency and the highest levels of fuel poverty.
These problems affect too many people. That’s why we need to take action to reform the private rented sector so tenants and landlords can both get a fair deal.
The next Labour government will change the law to make three-year tenancies the norm and protect against excessive rent increases to give tenants the stability they deserve. And also take action to ban unfair letting agents’ fees for tenants, saving renters an average of £350 in costs each time they move – and £624 for the average renter over the Parliament.
We have also set out plans to introduce a national register of landlords and increase flexibility for local authorities to introduce licensing schemes in order to drive up standards across the sector. We’ll also bring an end to cold homes by setting a new target to upgrade the energy efficiency of properties in the private rented sector.
The private rental market has changed and now the law has to as well. We won’t get the change we need under the Tories. Only Labour will improve the private rented sector to end the unfairness and make it work for working people in Hitchin & Harpenden.
Hitchin & Harpenden