Today Liberal Democrats voted at their party conference in Glasgow to strengthen the rights of the England’s nine million private rental tenants.
The new policy, which was voted on by party members, noted that one in three private rental properties does not meet the UK government’s Decent Home Standard, and that current housing market conditions mean that landlords can easily replace tenants who complain about standards or who ask for even basic repairs to be done on properties.
Speaking in Glasgow, Cheltenham’s MP Martin Horwood welcomed the proposal: “Gloucestershire has seen a large increase in the number of privately rented homes over the last decade, and that increase is particularly obvious in Cheltenham. The number of private tenants in Cheltenham has risen from 5,811 to 10,260 in ten years. It’s any government’s duty to protect those residents from the small minority of bad landlords.”
“We’ve heard from the Conservative and Labour parties their proposals to help home buyers, but homeownership is not a reality for millions of people across the country, and those people should not suffer as private tenants.”
If made into law, the new policy would mean renters could appeal against eviction if they think it is related to a complaint about the state of the property, and could see their rent and deposit refunded in cases where there were proven health and safety risks.
“The vast majority of landlords are fantastic, and many develop a strong relationship with their tenants. That shouldn’t stop us from clamping down on the minority who seek to abuse their position, and that’s why I welcome this policy.”