My reply to Generation Rent Manifesto

by patrickkeating on 21 November, 2019

It is not acceptable that people are struggling to afford good homes in safe communities. The private rental market is expensive and insecure. Liberal Democrats are looking to the future and will oversee a substantial programme to reform the private rental sector. I am happy to support the Renter’s Manifesto, and have signed up on the Webiste. 

Open-ended tenancies and an end to section 21 eviction notices

Yes. At our 2019 autumn conference, Liberal Democrats made the abolition of S21 eviction notices party policy. We also called for further work to be undertaken with tenant and landlord organisations and groups to explore the opportunities for further reform and improvement of the rental sector, such as revising the current assured short-hold tenancy legislation to encourage the use of long-term tenancies as a standard.

Rent controls which bring down rents to 30% of local income

We will promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes.

Public investment in a massive public housebuilding programme

Yes. We will build at least 100,000 homes for social rent each year and ensure that total housebuilding increases to 300,000 each year. We will devolve full control of Right to Buy to local councils. We will also help finance the large increase in the building of social homes with investment from our £130 billion capital infrastructure budget.

Private rented homes brought into democratic public ownership

We must focus our efforts on unleashing the resources necessary for building new homes in local council areas.

A welfare system that supports access to safe, secure, affordable housing (UK)

Yes. While the UK is one of the world’s richest countries, the benefits and opportunities that should follow from that are felt increasingly unevenly across our communities. Liberal Democrats will invest £6 billion per year to make the benefits system work for people who need it and reducing the wait for first benefits payment from five weeks to five days. We will also reform Universal Credit to be more supportive of the self-employed. Similarly, we will increase Local Housing Allowance in line with average rents in an area.

National database of landlords and rents

Yes. Liberal Democrats support this initiative in line with the respect of GDPR.

Decent and safe private rented homes

Yes. Liberal Democrats want to improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing.

Decent and safe temporary accommodation

Yes. Liberal Democrats want to ensure that temporary accommodation is decent and safe, and that it remains solely a temporary option on a quick, clear path to a permanent home, with standards monitored and enforced by local authorities. Data on the use, extent and public cost of temporary accommodation should be collected and made publicly available for greater transparency and accountability.

Private rented homes to address the climate emergency and help end fuel poverty

Yes. Everyone should be able to afford to heat their home so that it is warm enough for them to live in. However, an estimated 2.5 million households in England live in fuel poverty, where they cannot afford to heat their homes to a decent standard partly due to poor insulation and heat loss – contributing to climate change and causing ill-health and early deaths. A Liberal Democrat government would introduce an emergency programme to insulate all Britain’s homes by 2030, cutting emissions and fuel bills and ending fuel poverty. We agree that financial support should be available to landlords to assist them in meeting this target, and sanctions should be applied to landlords who fail to make their homes energy efficient.

Private renters to have control of their homes

Yes, however, there must be adequate checks in place to ensure the best communication between renters and landlords.

Improve access to justice for private renters

Yes. Liberal Democrats want to improve access to justice for both landlords and private renters.

End Right to Rent (UK)

Yes. Right to Rent is a discriminatory scheme which sees landlords become an extension of immigration management in the UK.

End discrimination against benefit claimants (UK)

Yes. We must end benefit discrimination in the private rental market through publishing legally binding guidance on the Equality Act, or by other means.

Homes not assets (UK)

Yes. We must end the financialization of housing and disincentivize landlordism to ensure our housing system meets the needs of people over profit.

Renters’ right to organise

Yes. Liberal Democrats support renters working together to stop rogue landlords. However, ideally, the best outcome is one where renters and landlords work together for a positive outcome.

Liberal Democrats want to work together with key stakeholders to build a brighter future for housing in the UK.

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