Labour will help 9m renters save £600 each, Ed Miliband to promise

Nine million renters would save more than £600 each in the next parliament under Labour’s plans to ban letting agent fees and cap rent increases for longer-term tenants, Ed Miliband is to say.

The Labour leader will on Tuesday set out the predicted savings as the party launches a new campaign to make sure people in short-term accommodation are registered and ready to vote at the next election.

Private renters are the most under-registered group when it comes to signing up to the electoral roll, with 56% of them not able to vote in their constituency.

Miliband has already set out a number of policies to address the costs faced by renters, including introducing standard three-year contracts, stopping estate agents charging extra fees and capping rent increases for those on longer term contracts.

The party said renters would save at least £2.5bn in total – or £624 each – under a five-year Labour government.

“There are now 9 million renting their home and many of them are young people or families just starting out in life. This ‘generation rent’ has been ignored and let down by this government,” Miliband will say.

“The amount needed for a deposit on a home has risen beyond the reach of millions of young people and families starting out. As well as building more houses and helping people get on the property ladder, a Labour government will take action immediately to make life better for all those renting their home.”

The rent savings analysis was released as Emma Reynolds, Labour’s shadow housing minister, embarked on the first day of a national campaign to tour marginal seats with high levels of private renters.

Her first visits will be made in the same week as both national private renters day on Wednesday, on which private renters will lobby parliament for better conditions, and national voter registration day on Thursday, on which campaign group Bite the Ballot is hoping 250,000 mostly younger people will sign up to vote.

Last year, a poll by the campaign group generation rent found that 35% of private renters are swing voters and more than half consider the cost of their rent a big problem. It found 86 constituencies in which the collective vote of private renters could help swing the result in an election.

Reynolds said those renting from private landlords were getting a raw deal as they did not have the stability and security that they need.

“Renters have to work two days a week – the equivalent of working every day until the 28th May this year – before they pay the rent,” she said. “But in return they get no stability, poor standards and they have to pay hundreds of pounds in rip-off letting agent fees.”

Both David Cameron, the prime minister, and Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem deputy prime minister, used a debate with young people at Facebook, broadcast on Sky News, to express their support for longer rental contracts but stopped short of advocating a cap on rental increases.

Powered by article was written by Rowena Mason, political correspondent, for The Guardian on Monday 2nd February 2015 22.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


Have something to tell us about this article?