The charter of renters’ rights would be underpinned by new rights for tenants on affordability, security and standards.
The right to an affordable rented home would see rent increases capped at inflation nationally, bring in controls in areas with “runaway rents” and increasing local housing allowances to cover rental costs.
The right to a secure rented home would usher in open-ended tenancies to protect tenants from unfair eviction, it added.
Third, the right to a decent rented home would bring in new minimum standards backed by a yearly MOT-style test for properties and local enforcement powers.
The national property MOT would amount to a legal requirement for landlords to complete an independent annual inspection. Those who let sub-standard properties or flout the rules would face tough fines and forced repayment of rent to tenants.
“Labour will legislate in year one for a new charter,” said John Healey, shadow housing secretary.
“The power imbalance in the private rental market is at the heart of our housing crisis, with rents eating up too much of people’s pay, tenants afraid of eviction if they report problems and families with children forced to uproot their lives at short notice.
“Many landlords provide decent homes that tenants are happy with, but the Conservatives have gifted rogue landlords the freedom to flourish,” Healey added.
Labour quoted figures showing the private rental sector has grown by more than a million households over the past nine years, 25 per cent of families with children rent privately and 1.7 million renters pay more than a third of their income in rent.
Additionally, 25 per cent of homes nationally were classed as “non-decent,” meaning that they are damp, cold, in disrepair or unsafe.
The party’s research found tenants in the UK collectively pay £10bn for sub-standard accommodation.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, said: “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.”