Latest Stories

Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing John Healey has today pledged that under a Labour government there would be a ‘consumer rights revolution’ for renters, starting by introducing tougher legal minimum standards for all private rented homes.

Mr Healey said that Labour’s new minimum standards will empower renters to “call time on bad landlords” letting out dangerous or sub-standard homes and who are being let down by Conservative Ministers who have weakened key legislation.

Labour analysis released alongside the pledge shows for the first time the cost of England’s 1.3 million sub-standard private rented properties, now home to 400,000 families with children. In London, 226,000 private rented properties are substandard. Tenants nationally are spending £800 million every month (£9.6 billion a year) on homes which the government classes as ‘non-decent’. In London the figure is  £249 million, almost £3 billion annually. Around a quarter of this is paid by housing benefit.

At present, there are effectively no minimum standards for private renters, and tenants are reliant on over-stretched council environmental health teams to weed out dangerous homes rather than being able to take matters into their own hands.

Mr Healey pointed out that in practice people have “fewer rights renting a family home than you do buying a fridge-freezer”. Consumer rights legislation is limited in housing so while consumers will normally get protections requiring that goods and services are ‘satisfactory quality’, and ‘fit for purpose’ with clear redress and ‘repair or replace’ provisions, there are no equivalent protections for renters.

A Labour government would consult with landlords and relevant professionals on new legal minimum standards to ensure properties are ‘fit for human habitation’ on specified criteria, for example:

-          safe wiring and appliances

-          freedom from serious damp and vermin infestation

-          appropriate water and sewage facilities

-          appropriate facilities for the preparation and cooking of food

-          general good repair.

Research by Shelter in 2014 found that six in ten renters (61%) have experienced at least one of the following problems over the last 12 months: damp, mould, leaking roofs or windows, electrical hazards, animal infestations and gas leaks.

As part of Labour’s five point plan on standards announced today Mr Healey will also pledge new powers for councils to license landlords and tough fines for those who flout the rules. 

Shadow Secretary of State for Housing John Healey MP said:

“Our homes are at the centre of our lives but at the moment renters too often don’t have basic consumer rights that we take for granted in other areas. In practice you have fewer rights renting a family home than you do buying a fridge-freezer. As a result, too many are forced to put up with unacceptable, unfit and downright dangerous housing.

“The number of families renting from a private landlord has soared since 2010 but decisions made by Conservative Ministers have made it easier for a minority of bad landlords to game the system. Most landlords provide decent homes that tenants are happy with, but these rogue landlords are ripping off both renters and the taxpayer by making billions from rent and housing benefit letting out sub-standard homes.

“After seven years of failure the Conservatives have no plan to fix the housing crisis. The next Labour government would go further and call time on bad landlords. We’d introduce proper minimum standards to put renters back in control, and give councils the powers they need to tackle the worst offenders.”

£249 million a month in rent going to bad landlords in London

Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing John Healey has today pledged that under a Labour government there would be a ‘consumer rights revolution’ for renters, starting by introducing tougher...

Andy Slaughter MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Housing and Shadow Minister for London, commenting on research for the Trust for London charity showing that 4 in 10 Londoners can’t afford a decent standard of living, said:

“This is a timely reminder that the growing national housing crisis is entrenched and endemic in London, and that the Government is doing next to nothing to resolve it. Indeed in many ways it is making it worse.

"For those on the London Living Wage of £9.75 an hour, the only type of housing that is affordable in London is housing association or council rented property but both are under attack from right-to-buy and forced sale schemes.

"The Mayor of London is showing the way by insisting on high levels of shared ownership, London Living Rent and genuinely affordable social rented homes in new developments.  But to get the volume and type of housing that Londoners can afford to rent or buy requires major initiative by central Government, not the vacuum in policy revealed in the recent White Paper.”

The full report can be read here

This is a timely reminder that the growing national housing crisis is entrenched and endemic in London - Andy Slaughter

Andy Slaughter MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Housing and Shadow Minister for London, commenting on research for the Trust for London charity showing that 4 in 10 Londoners can’t afford a decent...

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, is coordinating EU-wide efforts by socialist parties to protect the rights of UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK. 

Today, Jeremy has written to leaders of seven European socialist parties, allied to Labour and in government, to lobby, at every level of the EU, for the rights of British citizens abroad and to reaffirm Labour's commitment to the rights of EU residents in the UK.

The letters follow discussions Jeremy Corbyn initiated at a Party of European Socialists conference that Labour hosted in London last week.

With the British government likely to trigger Article 50 in the coming weeks and negotiations around Britain’s future relationship with the EU about to begin, millions of people across the EU are uncertain and fearful about what the future holds for them. 

In the letters, he appeals to the "common voice" of socialist parties across Europe to help guarantee the rights of "around 3 million EU Citizens, living, working and contributing greatly in our societies" and "an estimated 1.5 million British people living in different parts of the European mainland."

Theresa May has resisted Labour calls for the government to act unilaterally to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK. It currently looks likely to take the issue of rights for EU migrants in the UK and British migrants in the EU into what could be a difficult and unpredictable period of negotiations.

Jeremy Corbyn states this is the reason he is writing "as a friend and sister party colleague" asking "for you and your government to work formally with other socialist colleagues in the EU council and insist that the current rights of both EU and British citizens are guaranteed and insist this decision is the first to be made once Article 50 is triggered."

"As socialist parties, we all agree that we must work together to make sure the basic values we share are fully represented in a final agreement between Britain and the EU. Therefore I see no better way to start by making this issue a key priority for us in the coming months, we cannot allow our citizens, our neighbours and our friends be subject to further uncertainty or be used as a bargaining chip."

"We as socialists must stand up for the rights of everybody and I am confident this can be done through the Brexit process and beyond, if we stay true to our beliefs and work together."

Jeremy Corbyn works with European socialist parties in government to lobby for rights of British people in EU and EU citizens in the UK

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, is coordinating EU-wide efforts by socialist parties to protect the rights of UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in...

More Stories >


Sign up for updates


Search



Latest on Facebook

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.