As reported recently, rents in the private sector have "ballooned by more than 8% in the past year". (Morning Star,20/08/14) One of the reasons for landlords raising their rents is because they can, with the government doing nothing to stop them. Even when outrageous cases of profiteering are discovered, the judicial system does little to discourage repetition.
Yaakov Maron, having charged £420 a month for a rented room accessed by a staircase with 2ft 3 inches of headroom, and already having been banned by Barnet council from letting out the room, was fined, with costs, around a mere £3000! What sort of deterrent to profiteering landlordism is this? Our prisons may be overcrowded, but an example has to be set, in the same way as fraudulent bankers need to be taught a lesson.
Labour has pledged a rent cap and the building of up to 200,000 homes a year, but this is unlikely to provide the stimulus for culture-change which the private rental sector clearly needs. Surely, Labour leaders are not worried about offending the 25% of all Tory MPs who are landlords, or even the 12% of their own MPs who rent out property?
One in three of rented properties in the private sector is officially classed as "non-decent", whilst one in five present a health or safety risk to the occupier. Such appalling data cries out for the setting-up of an Ofsted-type inspectorate which could classify all rented property, including student houses and flats, into bands, and set a maximum rent based on the condition and size of the property, and the area in which it is situated, for each band.