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Labour proposes reforms to rent market

Labour has announced plans to cap rent increases in the private sector and abolish letting fees to estate agents in an attempt to tackle the "cost of living crisis".A ceiling will be imposed on rent rises and rental fees of up to £500 are to be axed if Labour wins the 2015 election. Longer, more secure tenancies lasting for three years will also be a feature of the party's reforms, with strict rules to make it more difficult to evict tenants.Labour leader Ed Miliband made the announcement before an audience in Redbridge, as he launched his party's four-week campaign for the local and European elections that are set to take place on May 22nd.Mr Miliband said the current arrangements, where tenants are often evicted after just six months without justification, causes instability and works to the detriment of tenants, families, landlords and society as a whole.Under the new proposals, tenancies would run for a six-month probationary period, with the landlord able to terminate the contract if the tenant failed the probation. Following this, the tenancy would run for a further two and a half years.In addition, rents would be based on market value with a review conducted no more frequently than once a year. An upper ceiling would be placed on rents to prevent excessive rises.The Labour leader reiterated his pledge to ensure Britain would build 200,000 more homes a year by the end of next parliament if he is elected, in order to help people fulfil their dreams of home ownership.He went on to say: "Generation rent is a generation that has been ignored for too long. Nine million people are living in rented homes today, over a million families and over two million children. That is why a Labour government will take action to deliver a fairer deal for them, too."Responding to the announcement, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors denied it is developing proposals for benchmarks in the rented sector.The organisation welcomed Labour's discussion of "generation rent" but said "arbitrary caps" would be the wrong solution. 

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