Housing charity Shelter says Jeremy Corbyn's rent control plans could hit tenants

Posted On: 
27th September 2017

A major housing charity today warned Jeremy Corbyn that his plan to slap rent controls on landlords could "end up harming" those he intends to help.

Jeremy Corbyn unveiled the plans in his closing speech to the Labour party conference in Brighton
Credit: 
PA Images

Shelter raised the horror of the Grenfell Tower tragedy as it urged the Labour leader to "listen to tenants in a meaningful way".

Landlords meanwhile reacted with fury to the plans - saying they would end in disaster by severely cutting the housing supply.

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In his address closing the Labour party conference in Brighton, Mr Corbyn pledged to end “forced gentrification and social cleansing” by giving social tenants more rights.

He added: "Rent controls exist in many cities across the world and I want our cities to have those powers too and tenants to have those protections."

But Shelter CEO Polly Neate said: “Shelter supports controls that lengthen tenancies and protect families from unfair rent rises but not old fashioned rent-setting which we think could end up harming the very people on low incomes they’re meant to help, if and when landlords sell their properties."

She added: “After the horrific tragedy of the Grenfell fire we believe it is absolutely essential to listen to tenants in a meaningful way and we hope the Labour party will deliver on their promise to do so."

But David Smith, the policy director of the Residential Landlords Association, blasted: “Rent controls would be a disaster for tenants. 

"History has proved that they stifle investment and reduce supply; making it much more difficult for tenants to find somewhere decent to live."

'NOT FIT TO GOVERN'

The Conservatives took aim at the speech, saying it "summed up the problem with Labour: lots of big promises, but no explanation of how they would deliver them".

The party said its latest analysis showed the plans unveiled by Labour since the launch of its general election manifesto would cost some £312bn - requiring £7bn extra in annual debt repayments.

First Secretary of State Damian Green said: “Labour say they are ready for power but everything we’ve seen this week suggests they’re not fit to govern – and it’s ordinary working people who would end up footing the bill.”

Elsewhere, the British Chambers of Commerce said Mr Corbyn's speech will have "done little to reassure companies" worried about Labour's renationalisation and taxation plans.

But the trade unions were more welcoming of the one hour and 13 minute address - the longest in living memory by a party leader.

Unison boss Dave Prentis said it was "a defining speech, full of hope", while Len McClusky of Unite said it contained "confident and fresh thinking".