The news that Tories admit that "placing limits" on private rents was the "last thing" their government would do speaks volumes, not only about what they think about ordinary people`s problems, but also about their support for landlords exploiting their tenants.(Morning Star,03/01/15) Promises to control rents from the Labour party are certainly better than nothing, but at a time when many people are spending 40% or more of their earnings on private rent, is capping the amount the landlord can increase the rent by a suitable solution, and is it enough to win the votes of Generation Rent?
Opponents of the cap will no doubt stress how it will increase rents at the start of the tenancy contract, or reduce the amount of repairs landlords undertake, or even drive landlords out of the business altogether and worsen the housing shortfall. As if! Like the bankers have left the country because of laws limiting their bonuses!!
The answer has to be a more radical solution, as rents are already too high, and many properties are in such bad condition they should not be rented out at all. Labour needs to be bolder and challenge this new generation of Rachman impersonators. All rented properties need to be inspected urgently, and banded, so that only a certain amount of rent could be charged for the properties in certain bands. For many this would mean a big reduction in rent. Landlords will not walk away from easy profits and instead will be forced to improve the quality of their rented accommodation. Students would be included, too, so their halls of residence, as well as the private houses and flats they rent, would be inspected. Furthermore, all tenants would then have more money to spend, thereby benefitting the economy as a whole.
Come on Labour, take on these "fat cat" landlords, and give millions a good reason to vote for you.