Westminster Labour Councillors have welcomed Ed Miliband’s plans to help families that rent privately by tackling rip off letting agents and by introducing new long-term tenancies.
Labour say that the plans will benefit thousands of Westminster private tenants;
• Tenancies would start with a 6 month probation period at the end of which the landlord would be able to terminate the contract if tenant failed the probation (e.g. if there are rent arrears or anti-social behaviour). After the 6 months, the tenancy would automatically run for a further 2.5 years
• Tenants would be able to terminate contracts after the first 6 months with one month notice as they can now.
• But landlords would be able to terminate contracts with 2 months’ notice only if they can have good reason:
• The tenant falls into rent arrears, is guilty of anti-social behaviour or breaches their tenancy agreement
• The landlord wants to sell the property, needs the property for their own or family use
• The landlord plans to refurbish or change the use of the property.
• Landlords would not be able to terminate tenancies simply to put rents up.
• There would be a provision that allowed landlords to enter into shorter contracts where they are contractually obliged to do so as part of a buy to let mortgage entered into before the start of this new legislation. There would also be provision for new tenants like students or business people on temporary contracts to request shorter-term tenancies subject to the landlord’s agreement.
In addition, Labour will ban letting agents’ fees
If you buy your home, most estate agents will not charge you fees, but those who rent are given no protection and they get charged up to £500 just for signing a tenancy agreement that the Landlord is also paying for. We will legislate to ban these charges by letting agents. Landlords, as the client, would continue to pay charges but we will take steps to make these transparent so they know what they are paying for.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Lanour Group, said;
“The costs of renting are part of the cost-of-living crisis: Renters are now paying on average £1020 a year more in rent than in 2010 and letting agents charge average fees of £350 every time someone moves house. Under the current legislation renters are locked into short term tenancies with only 6 months of security and half of all families renting say that they are worried about unaffordable rent increases. Many people in Westminster will welcome Labour’s plans to make 3 year tenancies with stable rents the norm in the market and to ban letting agents’ fees for tenants, saving families £350.”