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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Labour's promises for English private tenants not good enough for Wales

According to this morning's Sunday Times, Labour have announced a plan to slap a cap on rents, banning private landlords from increasing their costs by more than the rate of inflation.

Under their proposals, landlords and letting agencies will have to disclose the rent paid by the previous occupants in a bid to deter new rent rises. Future rent rises will be pegged to rising consumer price. They also propose to make the default tenancy a three-year agreement, rather than the usual six to 12 months so as to give people more certainty over what they will have to pay.

All of these matters are devolved to the Welsh Government and would benefit tenants in Wales and yet there is not a whisper of such radicalism in Labour's Renting Homes Bill, currently making its way through its first committee stage in the Welsh Assembly. In fact they are taking an opposite view.

Labour's proposal is to do away with the six months minimum tenancy, so that a landlord can effectively evict a tenant after two months. This undermines any security of tenure that a private sector tenant might have.

The reason they are giving for introducing a policy that even a Tory Housing Minister in Westminister has not countenanced over the last five years, is that it will encourage landlords to stay in or enter the market.

If Labour are taking the side of landlords in Wales, against the best interests of tenants, then what value can we put on their promises for England?
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