Labour’s crackdown on private landlords

Published: 15/06/2013

A future Labour government will look to limit the amount of rent a landlord can charge, according to the Shadow Work and Pension Secretary, Liam Byrne.

Mr Byrne believes placing a cap on high rents will help stop the overall welfare bill increasing:

“A lot of people say to us why are we spending £24billion on housing benefit – a lot of that money is going to private landlords. Why don’t we give local councils the power to bring down the cost of rents, particularly in the private rented sector, and use some of those savings to actually build more social housing?

“That would stop the housing benefit bill going up and up and up.”

Currently private landlords can charge however much rent they wish as long as it is agreed in the tenancy agreement. There are rules in place however to protect tenants from sudden rent increases. GW LET solicitor, Rob Denman, explains:

“A landlord can increase a tenant’s rent but only at certain points in their tenancy, the most common of which is during the renewal of the tenancy. In this instance you will need a new tenancy agreement detailing the increased rent.

“You are also able to increase the rent during a ‘periodic’ tenancy, a tenancy which runs from month to month rather than for a specific fixed term.

“To increase the rent during a periodic tenancy a landlord must follow Section 13 of the Housing Act 1988 and serve a notice on the tenant proposing the new rent and when it will take effect.

“There must however be a minimum period of time between the date the notice was served and the date the new rent comes into effect. The timeframe is dependent on the nature of the periodic tenancy.”

For help and advice on rent increases as well other landlord-related issues such as rent arrears and tenant eviction, contact the GW LET team.

Content correct at time of publication

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