Deposits at risk: Green and Lib Dem tackle the PRS in London

This week saw the launch of two more manifestos from London Mayoral hopefuls: Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon AM, and the Greens’ Sian Berry. Time to delve in to the PRS policies of some more (albeit less likely) contenders.

green-lib-dem-logos

 

Catch the Pidgeon

Compared to the other candidates, some of Caroline Pidgeon’s policies are quite tame. She wants to:

  • encourage landlords to offer longer tenancies as opposed to mandating them,
  • encourage landlords to sign up to the London Rental Standard, and
  • ensure landlords abide by Tenants’ Deposit Protection Scheme rules.

Pidgeon also recognises the extensive powers that local authorities already have over the PRS. To make best use of this she wants to set up a central unit to prosecute rogue landlords, promote effective registration of landlords and will mandate councils to actually enforce HHSRS provisions to up the standards of properties.

So far, not so bad. However, where there is real room for worry is the Lib Dem position on landlord licensing. As part of powers that councils already have, Pidgeon will be looking to drastically increase the number of selective licensing schemes across the capital.

While not in the manifesto, the London Lib Dems are already on record as wanting to abolish selective licensing restrictions and have even called for powers to introduce Londonwide mandatory licensing of landlords.

So, while there are tamer policies that most people could get behind, there is a worrying stance on the licensing of landlords. The added costs to landlords will mean added costs to tenants, leaving renters picking up the tab for the policing of rogue landlords.

Surely Pidgeon could’ve come up with something a bit more liberal? Oh well, with around 4% in the polls we’ll likely never find out anyway.

You can read the Lib Dem manifesto here.

Berry Berry Frightening!

Rent controls, mandatory longer tenancies and mandatory licensing.

These are the radical reforms that Sian Berry wants to see in London and she will set up a Renters Union to campaign for the powers to impose them on the capital.

Although adamant about the need for such powers there is a distinct lack of detail surrounding the policies, with no mention of what form the rent controls will take, what length tenancies should be, or how a license scheme would work.

While this union will be funded by City Hall, it will operate completely independently of the GLA, which it will also need to lobby and influence…

With this funding the union will also provide advice to renters taking legal action against private landlord, or signpost them to charities that also already provide advice to renters such as Shelter or Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

Moving on from this seemingly redundant, tax-payer funded vanity project, Berry also envisions a Londonwide landlord register being set up. To achieve this she will work with accreditation schemes, borough licensing schemes and tenants to establish this database.

Interestingly, this database could also include a blacklist of rogue landlords. This could differ from the Government’s proposed database of rogue landlords (currently being debated in Parliament), but again there is little detail.

It’s not too much of a surprise that the Green Party are no fan of landlords or the free market. Luckily for landlords then, and tenants who would ultimately have to bear the costs of these policies, Ms Berry is circling around 3% in polls.

You can read the Green Party manifesto here.

 

CAVEAT: Although the NLA is unashamedly pro-landlord, it remains politically neutral. You can view our previous appraisal of Sadiq Khan’s manifesto here and Zac Goldsmith’s here.

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