Labour vows to 'call time on bad landlords' with housing pledge

Anushka Asthana Political editor
Labour will include a policy in its manifesto to consult landlords about new legal minimum standards. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Renters in England are paying £800m every month to live in homes that are classified as “non-decent” by the government, according to new research by the Labour party. It finds that 400,000 families with children are among those living in 1.3m substandard private rented properties with problems including unsafe wiring, severe damp and vermin infestation.

Labour’s shadow secretary of state for housing, John Healey, said his party would commit to new minimum standards to help renters “call time on bad landlords”.

“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,” Healey told the Guardian. “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.”

He said most landlords provided decent homes, but rogue operators were “ripping off both renters and the taxpayer by making billions from rent and housing benefit letting out substandard homes”.

Labour will include a policy in its manifesto to consult landlords about new legal minimum standards to ensure that homes are “fit for human habitation”. The aim would be to tackle issues around wiring, damp, sewage and water facilities, decent provision in kitchens and general good repair.

Research by Shelter in 2014 found that six in 10 renters had experienced problems over the past 12 months related to damp, mould, leaking roofs or windows, electrical hazards, animal infestations, or gas leaks.

The Conservatives are also likely to try to target tenants in their manifesto after Theresa May used housing policy in February to shift the focus to affordable rents as well as home ownership.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes