Labour leader Ed Miliband has pledged to protect private renters from rogue landlords while giving them more long-term security, as he fleshed out his One Nation philosophy.
The Labour leader said action is needed to prevent damaging social divisions between home owners and people who rent.
He pointed out that 3.6 million households – including one million with children – are now in privately rented accommodation – outnumbering the social rented sector for the first time in almost 50 years.
The opposition leader also once again looked to distance his party from New Labour.
‘We cannot have two nations divided between those who own their own homes and those who rent,’ Mr Miliband said in a speech to the Fabian Society.
‘Most people who rent have responsible landlords and rental agencies. But there are too many rogue landlords and agencies either providing accommodation which is unfit or ripping off their tenants.
‘And too many families face the doubt of a two month notice period before being evicted. Imagine being a parent with kids settled in a local school and your family settled in your home for two, three, four years, facing that sort of uncertainty.’
Mr Miliband said his party would introduce a national register of landlords and greater powers for local authorities to find and take action against rogue landlords.
They would also ’end the confusing, inconsistent and opaque fees and charges regime’, and make them easy to understand, upfront and comparable. And they would take steps to enable longer term tenancies.
He also said that if Labour wins the next general election, it will have to find ways of achieving change while tackling a lingering deficit. One Nation Labour has learnt the lessons of the financial crisis, he added.
A Conservative spokesman said: ‘Not once does Ed Miliband answer the tough questions, like how he would deal with the record deficit his Labour government left behind.’
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