Labour’s commitment to ‘indefinite’ tenancies shows misunderstanding of PRS
The Labour Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP, has announced that the Labour Party is committed to new ‘indefinite’ tenancies, based on the current system in Germany.
The Labour Party has said that they intend to ‘revolutionise’ the private rented sector (PRS), and claimed that their model would enable more security for tenants as well as protection from rent increases.
Most renters in Germany are offered indefinite tenancies, with landlords able to reclaim possession under specific circumstances, such as rent arrears of three months or more, antisocial behaviour, or if the landlord wants to use the property for themselves or a relative to live in. Rent increases are also controlled within the tenancy. Tenants can give three months’ notice if they wish to leave.
John Healey also claimed the changes would improve conditions in the PRS, saying:
“People shouldn’t be living in fear of losing their homes.
“The insecurity of renting is a power imbalance at the heart of our broken housing market, where tenants are afraid to report problems in case they are evicted, and families with children are forced to move at short notice.
“Many landlords provide decent homes that tenants are happy with, but the Government is allowing rogue landlords to take advantage of good tenants. Renters deserve better.”
The National Landlords Association’s (NLA) long-standing position is that there are regulations in place to provide tenants with safe homes. A lack of enforcement by local authorities allows criminal landlords to act with impunity, while undercutting those who comply with the law.
Meera Chindooroy, Policy and Public Affairs Manager of the NLA said:
"Labour's proposal of adopting a German-style approach to private renting shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the market. Not only have rents increased dramatically across Germany over the past 10 years, the nature of renting is wholly different. Almost all properties are let unfurnished and tenants are usually responsible for installing basic amenities, such as kitchens, meaning a much longer term investment of their own money.
"We agree that the process for landlords to regain possession where there is a fault of the tenant is in urgent need of reform. However, the English Housing Survey 2018 shows that 90 percent of renters who have moved in the past three years have chosen to do so. Removing flexibility from the private rented sector would have a detrimental impact on the economy as tenants are no longer able to seek out opportunities where they arise."
Watch the video below for more information on the possessoin process.
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