Local MP Andrew Gwynne has backed Labour plans to ban those guilty of serious criminal behaviour from acting as landlords, in a push to improve the quality of private rented housing in Tameside and Stockport.
Labour is considering creating a national register of private landlords and one proposal is for serious offenders to be struck off the register, thereby preventing them from renting to tenants. Labour’s policy review has received evidence that the private rented sector is blighted by “a small minority of criminal landlords who deliberately prey on the vulnerable”.
Councils have said that they are aware of almost 1,500 serial bad landlords. Around 3.6m households in England, or 16.5% of the total, live in private rented housing. They include 1.1m families with children. Yet, according to government figures, 35% of privately-rented homes do not meet decent standards for repair, facilities, insulation, or heating. That compares with 22% of owner-occupied homes not meeting decent standards and 17% of social housing.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“Nearly half a million families and more than 100,000 pensioners are among those living in poor quality private rented homes. To drive up quality, we want to stamp out retaliatory eviction against tenants who complain about the conditions of their property.
“We believe that as well as making sure criminals are driven out of the industry, creating a national register of landlords would help to ensure that landlords paid tax. HM Revenue & Customs has already said that private landlords are evading tax worth more than £500m.
“The private rented sector makes up a big proportion of homes in Tameside and Stockport, but there are far too many people living in needlessly shoddy properties. There are many excellent, honest landlords in my constituency – but the industry is sadly blighted by the rogues. I believe we need to take action to protect tenants.”
Shadow housing minister, Jack Dromey, said:
“The private rented sector has an important role to play in meeting housing need.
“But too many tenants are in poor and sometimes dangerous homes. That’s why Labour has set out proposals to drive standards up and bad landlords out.”