The recent news that a third of millennials won’t buy a house and will be renting for life is as shocking to some as it is unsurprising to myself and many of my peers.
The Resolution Foundation’s recent report put into words what many of us know to be true: the rented sector is the new normal. In Lambeth, more residents are private renters than are homeowners or council tenants. And renting isn’t just the reality for young professionals. Many families live in private rented accommodation.
Private renting is the most insecure tenancy with short notice periods and little national legislation to prosecute rogue landlords. The Tories are increasingly weakening the power of councils to improve the private rented sector and build the homes the country desperately needs.
Despite the challenges faced by the hostile Tory government, under Labour, Lambeth has a strong track record of supporting private renters. The council has clamped down on rogue landlords and those who put tenants at risk with dangerous overcrowding or substandard accommodation.
In the manifesto, Lambeth Labour pledges to expand the landlord licensing scheme to double the number of HMOs (Homes of Multiple Occupation) covered.
Under Labour, Lambeth will name, shame & prosecute rogue landlords who fail to provide decent homes, doubling the number of inspections of private rented homes so dodgy landlords have nowhere to hide. Where landlords fall short, we’ll use our powers to levy fines of up to £30,000 and ban rogue landlords from operating in the borough.
Labour will continue to support the renters by supporting the building of new affordable homes for rent at London Living Rent with three-year tenancies as standard alongside the core commitment for more social housing.
So that people know their rights and can access information, Labour will introduce a new private renters charter, setting out renters rights and Lambeth’s powers to intervene, and set up a new housing advice hotline and online service to improve support for private renters and those at risk of homelessness.
Truly transforming the quality of the private rented sector requires national legislation. Lambeth Labour will continue to campaign for more powers from central government to improve the standard and security of the private rented sector and for controls on rent rises.
Our commitments line up with key voluntary groups including Generation Rent who call for local councils to implement a licensing scheme, enact stronger enforcement on rogue landlords, communicate effectively with private renters, support national reform in the private rented sector, and increase housing supply.
As a private renter in St Leonards, I am proud to stand on a manifesto that pledges to support the large numbers of residents rending privately.