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Posted on September 23rd 2014 by admin-movingin

Labour demands “tough regulation” on agents

Labour has set out yet more details for its reform of the private rented sector should it come to power in next year’s General Election, with several key elements.

These include an all-embracing demand for “longer tenancies, greater security, more predictable rents, better regulation and proper enforcement of safety and decency standards” which would be backed up by compulsory licensing of all lettings agents “supported by tough regulation.”

All landlords would have to be registered in an unspecified self-financing scheme, from which they would be excluded if – to use the party’s wording – they were “found guilty” of illegal evictions, harassment, the theft of deposits or serious disrepair.

Labour also wants a Decent Homes Standard to be introduced for private renting.

More encouragingly for landlords, the party also wants a review of tax treatment to encourage investment and the introduction of (again unspecified) equity-share repair loans to achieve the new decency standard.

Yet another controversial proposal is that buy to let mortgages for existing homes should be “discouraged” with priority given to new-builds only. Commonhold – the form of tenure introduced by the last Labour government without widespread success – should become the norm, replacing leasehold, it says.

Finally, it wants a “National Tenant Voice” to be created – without saying what this would be or how it would operate.