The LibDems and Tories have once again acted to “put rip off fees in the pockets of agents rather than roofs over the heads of tenants” claimed Labour’s Daniel Zeichner after a vote last night in the House of Lords.
Tenants and landlords both pay their letting agent for arranging their tenancy contracts. On average tenants pay £355 to their lettings agents every time they move – while Shelter found some tenants being charged as much as £700 in total. 54% of people surveyed said they faced financial difficulties covering such fees.
Ed Miliband has again chosen Cambridge to make a major announcement to tackle the housing crisis. Earlier in the year he unveiled plans to strengthen rights for tenants in privately-rented homes, offering longer tenancies and protection against unexpected rent hikes.
Soaring rents in Cambridge are forcing more and more people onto housing benefit – and pushing up the welfare bill. Figures obtained by Labour show that the number of working people in Cambridge claiming housing benefit rose by 55% between May 2010 and November 2013. While the overall numbers of people claiming housing benefit barely rose (up 2% from 7676 to 7825), the numbers of people in work claiming housing benefit leaped from 1040 to 1608 – a 55% increase.
Ed Miliband was in Cambridge last Thursday because official figures show that we have the highest proportion of private rented accommodation in the region – 26% -even higher than London. Earlier in the day Ed had launched Labour’s local and European election campaign and unveiled plans for sweeping reforms of the private rented housing sector which will help millions of households caught in the cost-of-living crisis.
There is new hope for hard-pressed tenants in Cambridge who would like greater security and more certainty over future rent-levels, says Cambridge Labour’s Parliamentary spokesperson Daniel Zeichner. The Labour Party has today published the second in a series of policy review documents looking at changes Labour will make to the rules around private rented homes.