Jeremy Corbyn has pledged that a Labour government would give cities the power to introduce rent controls and tough restrictions on gentrification projects.
In a speech on the final day of Labour’s annual conference in Brighton yesterday, the Party’s leader said that regeneration schemes had often been cover for “social cleansing”.
Under a Labour government, councils would have to win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders before any redevelopment scheme could take place, he said.
The Party would also ensure that people who lived on an estate that had been redeveloped could remain after the work was completed, Corbyn promised. “No social cleansing. No jacking up rents. No exorbitant ground rents,” he insisted.
He also attacked the failures of Government and management surrounding the Grenfell Tower disaster. He said that the Party would comprehensively review social housing policy, which the Grenfell Tower inquiry has been criticised for not addressing.
“Tenants are not being listened to,” he said. “We will insist that every home is fit for human habitation – a proposal this Tory Government voted down.”
Corbyn also said that a Labour government under his leadership would introduce rent controls – a promise likely to appeal to many of his younger supporters hit by the housing crisis.
This pledge goes further than the Party’s 2017 manifesto promise, which was to consult on controlling rent rises above inflation, by vowing that action will be taken.
“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,” he told the packed conference hall.
The Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark (the Association of Residential Letting Agents), David Cox, comments on the news: “The Labour Party clearly hasn’t learnt the lessons of history. The last time rent controls existed, the private rented sector went from housing 90% of the population to just 7%. Whenever and wherever rent controls are introduced, the quantity of available housing reduces significantly, and the conditions in privately rented properties deteriorate dramatically.
“Landlords, agents, and successive governments over the last 30 years have worked hard to improve the conditions of rented properties, and this is like taking two steps backwards. Rent control is not the answer – to bring rent costs down, we need a concerted housebuilding effort to increase stock in line with ever-growing demand.”
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