Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Time for Landlord register

The lack of decent, affordable housing in Medway, Aylesford and Snodland is a huge issue and local families will be dismayed that this current Tory-led Government has cut the budget for building new affordable homes by 60 per cent.

This lack of housing has led to a massive increase in the number of people who rent their homes privately, including more than one million families with children. Unfortunately this has also led to a rise in problems associated with renting.

As Councillor in Luton & Wayfield I have lost count of the number of visits to residents with severe damp issues, electrical problems and broken heating systems and of the complaints against landlords who happily take the rent

Only this week we saw an example with AMAT that is a private association which is not maintaining a quality service according to the media. Many Conservative Councillors have lambasted the service but when it comes to introducing tighter regulation over Private Housing Associations, Private Landlords or others they conveniently step back.

Fine you might say; hypocrisy others might say.

If Tory Councillor's were being genuine with the electorate they would call for tighter scrutiny of landlords and rental agencies operating in the private rented sector. We all know there are too many rogue landlords and agencies who are charging rip-off fees for sub-standard housing and hard-working people in Medway and Kent are being let down and ripped off.

But this is when outrage turns into small state realism. The values of Conservatives are to complain but then when given a solution which involves local or national government intervention they do nothing. That is the reason why I suspect my case work will not change one iota until a Labour government is elected in 2015. 

And a tenant looking to rent a new home faces a wave of confusing and often hidden fees for administration, credit reference checks, tenancy renewals and for checking in and out of the property. This lack of transparency makes it hard for people to shop around with average fees estimated at £226 per tenant and £76m per year across the whole private rental sector. This is therefore not just impacting the poor but the young as well. 

Whilst estate agents can be banned for bad practice, lettings agents are not subject to the same stringent complaints and redress procedures. We cannot have two nations divided between those who own their homes and those who rent which is why Labour is determined to find a One Nation solution to the problems associated with renting.

Labour in Medway want to introduce a national register of landlords and grant local authorities greater powers to root out and strike off rogue landlords. This would make it easier for local authorities to tackle rogue landlords and to strike off those found to have broken the rules. We would also provide a system for people to get redress when a lettings agent has ripped them off, just like we have for estate agents. 

And we would end the confusing and inconsistent fees and charges regime, making fees easily understandable, upfront and comparable across agents.

These policies could make a real difference to people in Medway and in the inner city wards of Chatham, Rochester, Gillingham and Strood who feel trapped and exploited at having to rent their homes from rogue landlords and unscrupulous agencies. It would allow neighbours peace-of-mind that properties are not being overcrowded

We have an opportunity to take action but we risk letting this chance slip by unless the Tory government and our MPs make a stand. 


  1. But this isn't a recent problem!

    Why didn't the labour government 'make a stand' when they were told about the destruction of the communities around the luton arches area by the rapid expansion of these 'housing associations'?

    As ever, the people who can make a difference are not directly affected so nothing will be done apart from a lot of talk and hot air.

    I just wish I could open a bail hostel next to certain cabinet members homes just so they could find out how if feels.

  2. I Think It may help's you buddy.

    rent in luton