GMB Experts in the World of Work
Join GMB today
 Follow @GMB_union

Regulate Private Landlords

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

GMB Call On Councils To Regulate Private Landlords As Number Of Private Dwelling For Rent Grow By 53,200 As Figures For Latest 3 Months Show

There are issues of length of tenure, exorbitant rents, arbitrary evictions and rent rises, retention of deposits, exorbitant charges by agencies and safety of electric and gas appliances says GMB.

GMB is calling on councils to be required to set up systems of regulation of private landlords who continue to acquire a growing slice of the UK housing stock as the latest mortgage lending figures show.

The most recent figures for the 3 months to end Jan 2015  for the UK from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show that a total of £7,400 million was advanced as buy-to-let loans to enable private landlords to acquire 53,200 dwellings to bring the total number of private dwellings for rent to over 4 million.

Councils should set up a register of private landlords and the condition of registration should require minimum standards for length of tenure, terms of contract, safety, the condition and energy efficiency of rented accommodation. This should include at least reserve powers to intervene to impose fair rent levels.

The number of multi- person households in London continues to grow from 132,980 in 2011 which was 16.2% of the then 819,085 private rented households.

In Wandsworth, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Southwark and Islington these multi –person households account for more than 25% of all private rented households. See table below for number of multi-person households in private rented accommodation in London in 2011- ranked by boroughs with highest numbers from the 2011 Census.

This call for regulation of private landlords is one of the radical and realistic proposals for a comprehensive housing strategy for an incoming Labour government agreed by GMB Congress 2014. Congress report on Housing is attached as a pdf at foot of this release.

Number of multi-person households in private rented accommodation in London in 2011- ranked by boroughs with highest numbers

local authority: county / unitary

All households

Private rented households

Multi-person households:  private rented

% of private rented

Wandsworth

130,493

41,317

11,499

27.8

Lambeth

130,017

38,133

10,920

28.6

Tower Hamlets

101,257

32,964

9,014

27.3

Hackney

101,690

29,449

8,193

27.8

Southwark

120,422

28,493

7,447

26.1

Islington

93,556

25,217

6,502

25.8

Westminster

105,772

41,949

6,154

14.7

Hammersmith and Fulham

80,590

25,555

5,993

23.5

Newham

101,519

34,570

5,803

16.8

Haringey

101,955

32,095

5,779

18.0

Camden

97,534

31,434

5,334

17.0

Ealing

124,082

34,182

4,982

14.6

Brent

110,286

33,181

4,886

14.7

Lewisham

116,091

28,216

4,540

16.1

Barnet

135,916

34,854

4,411

12.7

Waltham Forest

96,861

25,102

3,065

12.2

Merton

78,757

19,503

2,849

14.6

Kensington and Chelsea

78,536

28,108

2,832

10.1

Hounslow

94,902

22,206

2,789

12.6

Croydon

145,010

30,472

2,639

8.7

Greenwich

101,045

20,004

2,391

12.0

Enfield

119,916

26,591

2,262

8.5

Redbridge

99,105

22,657

1,839

8.1

Richmond upon Thames

79,835

17,440

1,808

10.4

Hillingdon

100,214

18,141

1,684

9.3

Harrow

84,268

18,324

1,681

9.2

Kingston upon Thames

63,639

14,312

1,545

10.8

Bromley

130,862

17,393

1,135

6.5

Barking and Dagenham

69,681

12,328

933

7.6

Sutton

78,174

12,429

712

5.7

Havering

97,199

10,337

578

5.6

Bexley

92,604

10,556

563

5.3

City of London

4,385

1,573

198

12.6

 

 

 

 

 

London

3,266,173

819,085

132,960

16.2

 

Kamaljeet Jandu, GMB national officer for young members, said “The private rented sector has always been dominated by small landlords but recent tax advantages and schemes to encourage ‘Buy to Let’ projects have fuelled an influx of new landlords as the latest figures for buy to let mortgage show.

These so called ‘amateur’ landlords have variable experience and their properties are of variable quality. Many are reasonable landlords but too many have little regard for the rights or quality of life of their tenants.

There are issues of length of tenure – six months is very common, and issues of exorbitant rents, arbitrary evictions and rent rises, and unreasonable retention of deposits.

There are also instances of inadequate, poor quality property, unsafe, unhygienic, damp, draughty and energy inefficient premises being let to vulnerable and desperate tenants. 

There are also issues of exorbitant charges by letting agencies on both landlord and tenant. And there are serious issues regarding safety – particularly of electric and gas appliances and provision of alarms.

Yet this is an almost entirely unregulated sector. Local Authorities have a discretionary power to require registration of private landlords but only a few do so.

There is a lack of intelligent debate about the sector: landlord organisations reject almost all calls for regulation and the Labour calls for protection against arbitrary rent rises have been denounced by Tory ministers.

Local Authorities should be required to set up systems of regulation and as a condition of registration require minimum standards for length of tenure, terms of contract, safety, the condition and energy efficiency of rented accommodation. This should include at least reserve powers to intervene to impose fair rent levels.”

End

Contact: Kamaljeet Jandu 07956 237178 or Rebecca Winson GMB London young member on 07812 502472  or Lisa Johnson 07900 292228 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

Notes to editors

Main points in GMB policy on Housing in report adopted by Congress 2014

Using expensive private sector landlords funded by taxpayers to provide houses for rent needs to be phased out.

The country needs a target for new build homes of 250,000 per year plus a minimum of 30,000 empty homes brought back into use. At least 80,000 of the target need to be in the social housing sector. This cannot be done without a major programme of council house building.

GMB Congress is calling for strategic changes in policy to deliver this ambitious target as follows:

  •  All Housing Policy and resources for England focussed in one Whitehall Department
  • A long Term Plan to switch over 20 year Government support from Housing Benefit to New Build and improvement
  • Establishment of City Region level Housing Delivery Bodies with equivalent bodies in Devolved Administrations and for Rural Housing

GMB Congress also calls for action on specific policy areas as follows:

  • Halt the integration of Housing Benefit into Universal Credit
  • Integrate and Redirect Support Guarantee Schemes from Help to Buy to Help to Build
  • Fundamental Review of Social Housing ‘Affordable Rents’ Policy
  • Stalled Developments of over 6 months face sanctions or be transferred
  • Local Authority borrowing powers for housing to be redefined and the cap removed
  • Introduction of Housing Bonds for Local Authorities, Housing Associations and Developers of Affordable Homes
  • Start a Financial Conduct Authority Review of the Mortgage Market to achieve greater stability and equity
  • Start discussions with Pension Funds on commitments and regulation to direct capital into all forms of affordable housing
  • Start discussions with construction industry on shortages of finance, land and skilled labour and how to overcome them.
  • Compulsory Acquisition of Empty Homes
  • Regulation of Private Rented Sector
  • Changes to Planning Laws on land designation, mixed communities and social housing
  • Legislative Basis for Housing Commissions at City Region level
  • Separation of Regulatory and Funding Roles of HCA and establishment of an Affordable Homes Commission
  • Improved Building Regulation on Housing Design
  • Legislative Basis for Rural Housing Commission
  • Affordable Homes Commission and Rental Market Regulator
  • Housing Bank
  • New Towns

An incoming Labour Government from 2015 will need to make affordable housing a central part of its economic and social strategy. Some of the strategic and institutional changes will take time to put into full effect but the intention needs to be clear from the start with an immediate emergency programme and legislative action from the first session of the new Parliament.”

 

Share this page
+1

Additional Resources

GMB Central Executive Council Special Report On Housing

download pdf951Kb (pdf) - 25 March 2015

GMB Congress 2014