John’s plans part of Labour pledge for fairer deal for renters

A PLAN to help renters put forward by MP John Healey has become a major Labour election pledge.

Figures just released by the party based on the Census show that, on current trends, about 15 per cent of families in Rotherham and Barnsley will live in private rented homes by 2021.

The number of private renters in Rotherham has doubled in 10 years and in Barnsley it has increased by 76 per cent.

Rents have risen two-and-a-half times faster than wages over the past three years.

Now Labour has announced it will legislate to introduce three-year stable tenancies with predictable rent rises to prevent excessive increases, ban letting agent fees charged to tenants and introduce a national register to drive up standards in the private rented sector. The next Labour government will also set a new target to upgrade energy efficiency of properties.

In July 2013 the Wentworth & Dearne MP and former housing minister introduced a private members’ bill to stop letting agents charging rip-off fees and bring in a landlords register.

Mr Healey said: “Tenants often get hit by huge and hidden up-front fees that cost £350 on average.

“Renting is already more expensive than owning, and tenants often have to put up with poor standards.

“9 million people now rent privately, including over 1.3 million families with children, but they typically only get six or 12 month tenancies.

“It’s not working for families wanting a decent home where they can settle down, put down roots and have peace of mind.”