Why Labour’s ‘right-to-buy’ scheme for private rented homes would be a disaster – Helen Martin

Labour is considering radical plans for the private rented sector (Picture: John Devlin)
Labour is considering radical plans for the private rented sector (Picture: John Devlin)
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I’M getting tired of repeatedly stating I am a landlord of a couple of flats. But I have to say that first, if I’m going to have a go at Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who has proposed a clamp-down on private landlords and enforcement to make them sell their flats at a decreed price… if Labour’s ever in power.

Yes, I could start defending myself. It’s part of a pension plan, given that care homes are about £3,000 a month (should I need one). Many children and grandchildren need pensioner grandparents’ support nowadays.

But the most important thing is that rental is increasing. One-in-four first-time buyers (average age 34) need deposit help from family as recent statistics have revealed. Four-in-ten 35 to 44-year olds haven’t been able to buy a home yet, nor have 28 per cent of 45-54-year-olds! Without private rentals, government and local authorities would have to spend about as much on buying or building homes for tenants as is spent on the NHS!

READ MORE: David Alexander: Labour needs to re-work rented sector proposals

READ MORE: ‘Devastating impact’ on Edinburgh as 2,000 council homes resold in past 19 years

If private landlords shouldn’t rent homes, should government or local authorities do so? Or should they ‘sell’ them too – even if so few can afford them?

I’ve seen some rented council flats and houses which I consider uninhabitable, and, yes, the same is true of some in the private sector. I’m fussy about my flats and maintain them on the basis that I could live happily in them.

Raising the standards of all rentals would be a good move, with serious penalties for landlords who don’t register.

But Mr McDonnell, have you any idea how many people you will make homeless throughout the UK if you ban private rentals?