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Labour's three-prong strategy for lettings industryLabour has set out a three-pronged tenant-friendly but agent- and landlord-hostile policy in its formal manifesto for next month's election.

In addition to pledges to ensure 200,000 homes are built annually by 2020 and the introduction of a mansion tax to contribute towards funding frontline NHS staff expansion, the manifesto says it is addressing the nine million people now renting privately, including over 1.3 million families with children.

It says almost half of those who rent are over 35 - many of them wanting but not currently possessing the same security and stability they would have if they owned their own home.

The party document says the rules on private renting have not caught up with the way people live now. Too many people are struggling with the rising cost of renting and with the insecurity and uncertainty built into the rental market, it claims.

As well as rising rents - up on average by £1,020 a year since 2010 - letting agents' fees of up to £500 every time someone moves house have added to the growing cost of renting. And under the current system, most renters can only get short-term tenancies of six to 12 months which don't work for families looking to settle down it claims.

In therefore has three policies:

1. "We will change the law to make three-year tenancies the norm instead of the six or 12-month short-term tenancies that most renters have now - so that landlords and tenants both have more stability, but with the ability to terminate contracts early with proper notice if they have to, just as they can now.

2. "We will make rent increases more predictable within these contracts, so that landlords and tenants negotiate their initial rent between them just as they do at the moment, and then review rents every year during the three-year tenancy with an upper ceiling on any rent increase. This will stop excessive rate rises out of sync with the market, and help families plan ahead and make sure landlords have a stable income.

3. "We will ban letting agents from charging fees to tenants - saving renters who enter a new tenancy an average £350 - and make sure that the fees charged by letting agents to landlords are transparent so that they know what they are paying for.

Comments

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    help us all... honestly. Any letting agents seeing any reason to vote labour Tories are winning the election just on property promises. Hopefully joe public will see that making buying a home cheaper is better than making renting cheaper, or should I say moving.

    • 14 April 2015 08:41 AM
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    If you notice Labour have various statistics regarding the amount that Letting Agents charge for fees.

    In Aug 2013 we were told that the average fees were 902 and 1,700 in London.

    http://old.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/Labour-pledges-to-crack-down-on-letting-agent-fees-if-elected

    Now we are told the average fee is a not unreasonable 350 however the figure they will be using is up to 500.

    The Labour party is using the PRS as a political football and without the support and agreement of landlords then any well meaning proposals regarding changes in sector will fail.

    Labour know this but are willing to sacrifice a PRS that works reasonably well to grab votes.

    There is no doubt that for a generation unable to purchase a house these proposals will be appealing and in my opinion the Social Rental Sector should be building on brownfield sites and renting to this generation with the rent set initially at market rates to make it financially viable.

    They can then offer whatever proposals they like whilst leaving the PRS to provide the flexible accommodation that it currently provides.

    • 14 April 2015 08:34 AM
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