Tories pledge lifetime deposits for renters while Labour vow to clampdown on rogue landlords

Big Ben in London at spring

The Conservatives have vowed to introduce a new lifetime deposit scheme to allow renters to transfer tenancy deposits when they move rented properties.

The Tories plan to establish the Lifetime Rental Despots that would allow deposits to move between landlords instead of tenants putting down a cash lump sum at the beginning of each tenancy, if they regain power in December’s general election.

The manifesto also outlines plans to bring forward the Social Housing White Paper which will set out further measures to hand power to tenants, protecting them from “from revenge evictions and rogue landlords”. The party also pledged to support more social homes.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said a Conservative government would provide a 30% discount for local first-time buyers on new-builds and would end no-fault evictions.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) welcomed the idea of lifetime deposits, arguing it would make renting cheaper for tenants but the scheme has been described as “fundamentally flawed” by others.

Franz Doerr, chief executive of deposit replacement scheme flatfair said the idea was “great in principle”  but still raised “affordability issues for many” and warned that landlords would not be “properly protected.”

The Tories’ manifesto comes as Labour pledged to clampdown on rogue landlords and restrict rent rises in England if it wins next month’s general election. If the party wins on 12 December, rent increases would be capped at the national inflation rate.

As previously announced, Labour also vowed to introduce “open-ended” tenancies to protect tenants from unfair evictions and would bring in a “private renters” charter” that would see landlords face an annual property MOT. The Tories also set out plans to scrap “no fault” evictions.

Labour’s MOT-style reports would highlight whether a property is fit for letting, with the system making sure that all privately rented properties were required to meet a minimum standard. Landlords failing to meet these requirements facing hefty fines of up to £100,000. They would also be forced to repay rent if their properties are found to be inadequate under Labour’s plans.

The opposition party claimed around a quarter of private rented properties in England are classed as “non-decent”.

Outlining his party’s plans, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Labour will be on the side of tenants and take on dodgy landlords who have been given free rein for too long.

“Real change means taking on those who exploit the housing crisis to charge eye-watering rents for substandard accommodation.

“Labour will put power in the hands of tenants with our new charter of renters’ rights, a cap on private rents and funding for renters unions to support tenants to organise and defend their right to safe and secure housing.”

A Conservative spokesman said Labour’s plans would “hurt the renters they claim to want to help by hiking up rents” while the RLA claimed Labour’s proposals would “lead to a serious rental housing crisis”.

Policy director David Smith said: “The sector does not need new obligations, but better enforcement of those that already exist.”

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats say they will introduce longer-term tenancies and bring in rent controls linked to inflation.

The Green Party proposed rent controls, more secure tenancy agreements and an end to “no fault” evictions.

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25th November 2019