The new shadow chancellor has said that he is against a ‘crack down’ on letting agencies and rent controls.
Labour’s Chris Leslie, who was appointed by stand-in leader Harriet Harman, told the Guardian that Labour should not have implied that ‘landlords are all exploitative and opportunistic’ in the run-up to last month’s election.
In the interview, Leslie suggested that many buy-to-let property owners are in fact pensioners trying to boost their retirement income.
Instead of capping rents, Leslie said he would introduce a ‘Help to Build’ policy as a solution for the housing market.
Rather than ‘cracking down’ on letting agents, he said he would ‘encourage local authorities to use digital technology to establish an open marketplace for rental properties’.
“I personally feel that it’s got to be about consumer information, about blasting some transparency through these markets,” he told the newspaper.
Leslie - the MP for Nottingham East - is a private landlord, according to the Independent, which says his salary is topped up by rental payments for a property in London.
In the run-up to the election, the Labour Party pledged to ban letting agent fees charged to tenants, introduce three year minimum tenancies and cap rent increases.
Several Labour politicians have spoken out about the Private Rented Sector, most notably Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, who has repeatedly criticised letting agents and landlords in her north east London constituency.