Labour's Jeremy Corbyn had a tough message for rogue, profiteering property owners this morning. In an announcement calling for a 'charter of renters' rights' – designed to protect tenants from landlords who rack up charges on properties in a state of disrepair – the Labour leader promised to 'be on the side of tenants and take on dodgy landlords who have been given free rein for too long.'
All's fair in class war. But Mr Steerpike was curious to see if the Labour party's own conduct would match its professed claim to be on the side of downtrodden tenants.
The Labour party has its own portfolio of properties (worth over £6 million), which are managed by a separate company, called Labour Party Properties Limited. According to the company's latest accounts filed with Companies House, its revenue from rents rose by a whopping £86,000 (from £2,512,000 to £2,598,000) between 2017 and 2018.
But while the Labour landlords may have cashed in over the course of the year, were the benefits passed on to its tenants? According to the left-wing party's accounts, of the 16 properties which were revalued over the year, ten fell in value – rather suggesting that Labour was hiking rents for its tenants, while its actual properties were tumbling in value. In total, Labour's properties fell in value by over £100,000, while the company doubled its profits after tax.
If Jeremy Corbyn wants to start cracking down on bad landlords, perhaps he should look closer to home...