What the new Labour Government could mean for renters

The results are in. The Labour Party has won the general election by a landslide and will form the next government. Keir Starmer is the new Prime Minister. This represents a significant change after 14 years of Conservative-led governments.  

So, there’s one question on Generation Rent’s lips, what could this mean for tenants? 

In the short term, we await confirmation of appointments but it is likely that Angela Rayner will be the new Housing Secretary and that Matthew Pennycook will become Minister for Housing. Rayner has been the Shadow Secretary for Levelling Up Housing and Communities since September 2023, while Pennycook has held the Shadow Housing brief since December 2021. He was a prominent figure during the Renters (Reform) Bill process over the last year, tabling a number of pro-renter amendments to the legislation over a succession of stages, before it was dropped by the government when the election was called.  

Labour’s agenda for renters is now expected to become government policy. As we set out last month in our manifesto analysis, Labour promises to “overhaul the regulation of the private rented sector”, including: 

  • Empowering renters to challenge unreasonable rent increases and prevent renters being discriminated against and exploited. 
  • “Immediately” abolishing Section 21 no-fault evictions. 
  • Decisively raising standards, including extending Awaab’s Law to the private rented sector and ensure homes meet Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – a week after the manifesto launch, Labour committed to making sure privately rented homes have an Energy Efficiency Rating of at least ‘C’ by 2030. 
  • Giving first-time buyers “first dibs” to buy homes instead of international investors, and a permanent, comprehensive mortgage guarantee scheme, to support first-time buyers who struggle to save for a large deposit, with lower mortgage costs. 
  • A housebuilding target of 1.5m over five years, equivalent to 300,000 per year. 
  • Review Right to Buy discounts and protect newly-built social housing. 

Labour’s promises offer many welcome steps in the right direction, with many measures desperately needed in the context of record homelessness and the cost of renting crisis.  

In a recent interview with Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis, Keir Starmer outlined some more detail to Labour’s plans on bidding wars and challenging rent increases, including to “let tenants recover costs in courts when their landlord increases their rent without issuing an official notice” and “ensuring that tenants who take an unfair rent rise to court won’t see the increase after the court has ruled.”  

While plans to challenge increases are welcome and bidding wars must be outlawed, any system that would allow tenants to offer so-called “voluntary” offers over asking prices would undoubtedly be exploited by some landlords and letting agents to allow back-door bidding wars. 

Ultimately, in order to be effective, we believe the new government must limit the rent increases landlords can impose to tenants stay put, rather than continue to allow landlords to push rents up faster than tenants’ wages. This common-sense measure is backed by landlords and must be the next step taken by the new government to address sky-high rents. This can and must be done alongside the housebuilding programme Labour is promising, to make sure that rents come down and stay down for the long term.  

Over the course of the new parliament, Generation Rent will continue to campaign for comprehensive changes to law and policy so that every renter can live in a secure, quality and affordable home. 


Looking for some help and can't find the answer ?

Let us know using the form below, and we’ll try to find out

Individual Advice

Generation Rent can’t offer advice about individual problems. Here are a few organisations that can:

You might also find quick but informal help on ACORN’s Facebook forum, and there are more suggestions on The Renters Guide.