0:01 AM, 17th November 2023, About 3 weeks ago 32
Rental properties should be seized from landlords who consistently break the rules and take advantage of tenants, says a Labour MP.
Clive Betts, the chair of the levelling up, housing and communities select committee, told the Guardian, that confiscated homes could become the property of councils, which could then use them to house people in need or sell them off to raise money for social housing.
In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Betts also said Section 21 abolition may not become a reality until after the next election and criticised Labour’s social housing policy.
The Labour MP said tougher actions are needed to stop landlords from mistreating tenants.
Mr Betts told the Guardian: “Some landlords are putting tenants in appalling accommodation, they’re using the threat of eviction to make sure that they don’t get complaints and they are oblivious to the fines that are levied against them.
“All that needs to change and needs to change quickly. Not waiting for some court reforms in five or six years’ time.”
He added that a threat of properties being confiscated would be a “significant deterrent”.
“The threat of seizure would bring landlords up fairly sharply because some of those properties are worth quite a lot of money.
“This would create a significant deterrent to landlords who treated fines for letting out squalid, unsafe and overcrowded homes as simply a cost of doing business.”
Mr Betts said he was “extremely angry” with the government over the delay of Section 21.
The government recently announced plans that Section 21 will be shelved until the court system has been improved.
He said: “Because of the delay, no one who rents privately or under the current tenancy arrangements could have any certainty about where they would be living in a year’s time.
“It’s an awful situation for a family thinking not only about where their home will be but about where your children’s school will be, how you are going to get to work”.
The chair of the Housing Select Committee expressed criticism of Labour’s housing policy, which he said would fail to build the social housing needed to help resolve problems within the private rented sector.
Angela Rayner, the shadow housing secretary, told the party conference that a Labour government would require private developers to build more affordable housing as a price of planning consent.
The cross-party housing committee has estimated that 90,000 new social homes need to be built each year and relying on developer contributions would not deliver that.
Mr Betts told the Guardian a multibillion-pound increase in state subsidies for social housing was needed instead.
He said: “As one witness very simply said to us, you can’t have subsidised housing without subsidies, that’s going to be a challenge for any new government.”
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