Labour’s shadow housing minister Lucy Powell (pictured) has warned private landlords that her party would put them under greater scrutiny to ensure their properties are up to scratch should her party win power at the next election.

Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference in Manchester, Powell said landlords who housed housing benefit claimants should not simply be given rental income “with no strings attached”, adding that the Labour Party was considering action to address this.

“On housing benefits, we spend a huge amount every year, most of which goes to the private rented sector, and we ask nothing in return from that money,” she said.

“We are going to be looking at tenants in the private rental sector. There is a lot more we can do about landlord licensing and landlord registration schemes.”

Powell, who took over as shadow housing secretary from Thangam Debbonaire earlier this year, is in favour of secure tenancies for life and creating more powers over HMOs and told the Commons in her first speech in the post that the government’s housing policies had failed.

“Now, more people are living in expensive poor-quality rented housing, subsidised by a soaring housing benefit bill,” said Powell.

Landlords’ reaction

A spokesperson for the National Residential Landlords Association says all private rented housing should be safe for tenants and meet all legally required standards, irrespective of whether a tenant is in receipt of benefits.

He tells LandlordZONE: “The fact remains that councils are struggling to make use of the wide range of powers they already have to tackle the minority of landlords who provide sub-standard housing and tarnish the reputation of the majority of responsible landlords.

“The key is enforcement. Simply coming up with new ways of developing lists of landlords does nothing to find those criminal landlords who will never come forward to make themselves known.”


  1. Recent legislative changes make accepting people in receipt of universal credit more and more unattractive. If Labour ever get into power again this sort of proposal will just further reduce the number of landlords accepting uc tenants.

  2. “On housing benefits, we spend a huge amount every year, most of which goes to the private rented sector, and we ask nothing in return from that money,”

    So when the government pays a claimant’s rent they get nothing in return! What a completely idiotic statement.

  3. ^nothing in return’. This just shows Labour has no grip on reality. Maybe they should try housing people themselves instead of relying on the PRS in that case, & then they will soon see how much it costs to supply this “nothing”.

    Landlords or what they provide literally mean nothing to Labour.

  4. “On housing benefits, we spend a huge amount every year, most of which goes to the private rented sector, and we ask nothing in return from that money,”
    In return they have a house for someone on UC to live in – that isn’t nothing!. The alternative is that the Labour Party house that person in government property (which they don’t have).
    Idiotic statement showing lack of thought and a basic misunderstanding of how the economy works.

  5. Perhaps they should move to China with their politics. Claimants on benefits are already seen as higher risk so go ahead you fools and make it even harder for them. Labour should built and house their tenants for less if that is what the need to do. Even the landlord bashing tories are scaring off prs landlords. Today starmer has suggested landlords should pay for social care as they have assets. Perhaps a heavy tax say 95percent on all MP’s as they are all multi millionaires if we use labour’s generalisation as to a particular group of people.

  6. Keep it up Lucy…
    Just more confirmation should we need it that Labour = disaster.

    More incentive not to entertain anyone on the social.

    Labour should get their own “House” in order, Croydon council along with many others own portfolios are in a shocking state. They are the real slum landlords in England

  7. Another comment from the politicians who do not understand the basic nature of renting. Crest more red tape to generate more income in short term and not really addressing the issue. Not all properties are rundown. Only a small percentage of properties are in need of disrepair. The landlords have been buying these , refurbishing them and bringing them on rental market. While the government and councils have been selling affordable housing and cashing in. They have squandered the extra fund. The issue is for councils to find and manage bad properties but they have the laws to enforce remedial action.job but failed to invest in staffing . Any more legislation will only add to their incompetence.
    If the restrict any more condition on tenants on benefit. landlords will not rent to people on benefit. It won’t be in their interest. So more homeless higher rents. And the tenants will have to move into properties which are under the council Redar and encourage more rouge landlords.
    Politicians need to work with all sectors of the industry and not make policies based on media headlines, pressure groups and need to respond to these groups.
    The government and councils have failed to address these issues over past several decades and made things worse by putting policies in place for their short term gain.

  8. The PRS has massively improved the housing stock in the uk since 1990. They have achieved this as a result of rent levels and freedom of an open market. As investment become less attractive housing repair will reduce. Just look at the Labour lunatics and the impact of the 1977 Rent Act where rents did not even allow cost of repairs and maintenance. Yet all we hear is rubbish aimed at getting votes from those less fortunate so the politicians can feather their own nests. Wholly self serving. And yes the state of council controlled housing in Croydon I think justifies them being called rogue landlords themselves.

  9. Still this manic obsession with rogue PRS landlords, that has led to ALL PRS landlords – the vast majority of whom realise that poor accommodation attracts bad tenants – getting hammered with excessive, discriminatory legislation and taxation.

    There appears not to be the same manic obsession with rogue tenants..why not? Surely there should be reciprocal and fair counter measures such that tenants have to comply with all kinds of rigorous tests – including perhaps a qualification in being a good, compliant and responsible tenant – and crucially not be listed on a rogue tenant / rent arrears register.

    As for giving someone the right to stay in your property for their whole lives..??? Yeah right – last one out turn the lights off..


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