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March 19

by Millie Wickens
Labour plans for open-ended tenancies to ‘revolutionise’ the sector

Landlords face a major revolution in the way the private rental sector operates, if Labour should win the next general election.

The latest proposal recommends a change in the law to force landlords to offer private renters open-ended tenancies.

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey says the new-style tenancies will give renters greater security in their homes.

The measure completes Labour’s three-step strategy to revamp the private rental sector alongside plans for rent controls and better housing standards.

“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,” said Healey.

“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.”

Labour says the strategy, which resembles the model operating in Germany, would help tenants stay in their homes for longer. German tenants live in a property for an average 11 years, compared to four years in the UK.

Housing charity Shelter has welcomed the plan.

“Rents are expensive, so when you add short-term contracts, the situation for renters is pretty tough. A family can be turned out for no reason at any time and saddled with not only the cost of moving but the huge burden of uprooting their lives,” said campaign director Greg Beales.

Meanwhile, the National Landlords Association argued the proposals reveal a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the market and pointed out that Germany had seen “rampant” rent increases over the past 10 years.

The debate surrounding longer term tenancies continues.

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