Labour has outlined its proposals for the private rental sector if it gains power at the next General Election - and the measures look like those from the government, with the addition of scrapping of Section 21 eviction rights for landlords.
Labour says S21 of the 1998 Housing Act came into force when it was more difficult for landlords to evict people who paid rent on time; now, the party claims, it is the biggest single cause of homelessness thanks to what it calls ‘no fault evictions’.
The party cites research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research asserting that 80 per cent of private sector evictions in 2015 fell into this category.
Labour’s shadow housing secretary John Healey says: ”Tenants who rent from private landlords have been hit hard by the housing crisis. Labour's commitment is clear: we'll give renters new rights to control rental costs, improve conditions and increase security.”
Labour’s other policies for the sector are broadly similar to those put forward over recent years by the Conservatives.
These are, introducing three-year tenancies as standard for private tenants, banning the levying of letting agents’ fees on tenants in England and Wales, and new minimum legal standards to ensure homes are fit for human habitation - the latter two measures are already making their way through Parliament.
In addition, Labour has repeated its claim from past years to allow city councils in certain parts of the country to introduce rent controls for private tenants.
The party also promises to reverse cuts to legal aid for housing related cases and to set up a £20m fund to set up renters’ unions to support tenants in disputes with landlords.
"Renters' unions help put power in the hands of tenants. And the next Labour government will fund set-up costs for these unions across the country to support renters to defend their rights, and make the housing market fairer” Healey says.