Labour pledges fast action to make renters better off

Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, will lay out plans today, 20 June 2024, that the party claims will make renters better off if they win power in the General Election. Aiming to relieve cost-of-living pressure on private sector tenants, Rayner, and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves MP, will pledge to crack down on unscrupulous landlords, ban no-fault evictions, and cap the amount of rent requested upfront.

Couple walking up steps to view a property

Labour will also promise to alleviate the shortage of PRS properties by building 1.5 million new homes over the next five years.

‘Immediate’ ban on no-fault evictions

Rayner has repeatedly signalled that abolishing Section 21 would be a priority for her party, which means they would be likely to start the process as soon as they took office.

Agents concerned about the implications of a sudden ban can be reassured that any change to the rules would still need to follow parliamentary processes, so it would take at least several months for this to become a reality.

Propertymark has an established relationship with Angela Rayner’s office and will continue to highlight the need for court reforms to be in place before changes are made to eviction rules.  

Stamping out damp and mould

The pledge to give every renter the same protection from damp, cold and mould will be achieved by extending Awaab's Law to the PRS.

Propertymark fully supports measures to level the playing field for tenants regardless of where they rent. Ensuring agents are suitably qualified and meet minimum competency standards is the only sure way to drive up standards of service for consumers and eliminate bad practices in the sector.

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New deadline for energy efficiency

Labour wants to slash fuel poverty and cut energy bills for tenants by requiring all landlords to meet EPC C in their properties by 2030.

Previous targets were dropped by the last UK Government in September 2023, after uncertainty around the measures had negatively impacted the PRS for some time. In our August 2023 report, Energy efficiency in UK property: Where to go from here?, we cited feedback from property agents that said the lack of communication and guidance from governments on energy efficiency regulations was the cause of confusion and stress across the sector.

Any future targets must be fully backed by legislation that incentivises and encourages people rather than penalising them.

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Empowering tenants to challenge unfair costs

Labour is stating they will end rental bidding wars, cap the amount of rent requested upfront, as well as letting tenants challenge unreasonable rent hikes. Rules already exist to address these issues, and it’s currently unclear what the details of the proposals are. 

Since 2019 landlords in England have been limited to 5 weeks’ (rent equivalent under £50,000 per annum) deposit for new and renewed tenancies (or 6 weeks if the annual rent is £50,000 or more).

There is the option for tenants to apply to a First Tier Tribunal if they think their rent increase is unfair, however, there could be a risk for both parties in asking the Tribunal to decide. Another option is to open discussions between a landlord and a tenant if there are affordability concerns. Propertymark member agents are experienced in advising landlords on setting fair rents and negotiating agreements, reducing the chance of disputes arising.

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Propertymark will work with the next UK Government to improve the private rented sector for landlords, agents, and tenants, and we share any ambition to improve standards over the next parliamentary term. 

However, while on the one hand the private rented sector should contribute towards decarbonisation, the sector needs clear clarity on what financial and practical support will be provided to landlords at the first opportunity.

Tim Thomas
Tim Thomas Policy and Campaigns Officer | Propertymark