Labour insists that if it forms the next government it will introduce ‘living rents’ in a new range of affordable homes that will be “well below market rent levels”.
In its new housing policy - launched as part of its local election campaign ahead of polls on May 4, but containing pledges should the party win the next General Election - Labour says that it will build up to 100,000 “truly affordable” homes per year.
It then says that of those new affordable properties which are let out “social rent will typically be well below market rent levels and set using an established formula based on local incomes, property values and the size of the property.”
Labour says that while the rent policy is directly applicable to social housing it would create a benchmark by which tenants could compare private sector rents, too.
It adds that: “Living rent homes which will have rents set at no more than a third of average local household incomes. These homes will be aimed at low-to-middle income working families, key workers and younger people who want a better alternative to renting from a private landlord, or who want help saving for a deposit for a home.
“In Manchester, a property let at a living rent could be around £130 cheaper each month than a private at, allowing a couple to save £4,700 extra towards a home to buy over three years.
“In Crawley, a living rent home could be £179 cheaper than the prevailing market rent allowing a household to save almost £6,500 extra towards a house to buy.”
Most of the party’s new policy is given over to council and housing association properties and targets, but Labour says it will also consult on a single housing Ombudsman scheme, stop Right To Buy in England - it has already been effectively suspended in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - and keep the Land Registry in public ownership.
It also says: “A Labour Government will allow councils to charge a 300 per cent council tax premium on properties that have been empty for more than a year. We will strengthen the Empty Dwelling Management Orders to bring homes back into use.”