Labour leader Ed Miliband
Labour leader Ed Miliband announces he will bring back rent controls to help Generation Rent. Getty

The Labour leader spelt out plans on rent controls and banning landlords from increasing charges higher than inflation.

Private landlords would not be able to increase annual rents by more than inflation for three years under Labour. Miliband also said he would act immediately to curb "massive" rent rises.

Ahead of a speech on Sunday (26 April) in which he will spell out details of the plans, Miliband described Labour's blueprint as "a plan for a stable, decent, prosperous private rental market where landlords and tenants can succeed together".

The move was condemned by Tory London mayor Boris Johnson, who described the proposed rent controls as a "disastrous policy", a "nonsense" and "a gimmick".

Housing is a key election issue, with all of the major parties pledging to build thousands of new homes over the next five years to tackle a chronic shortage of affordable housing stock.

Under labour's proposals, new tenants in England would have the right to find out what previous occupants paid to help negotiate the "best deal".

Helping 'generation rent'

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Miliband said his policies would help "generation rent" which affects millions priced out of the housing market and forced into expensive short-term and insecure rental agreements.

"Labour will build the homes which local people want to buy. But we will never turn our backs on 'generation rent'. And we want to encourage all those responsible landlords who provide decent homes for people and stable income for themselves.

"Too many people are struggling to meet the costs of putting a roof over their head. Some are saving for a deposit year after year, while the dream of owning their own home seems further and further away. Others are having to move all the time, ripping up roots at work or with friends – even having to change their kids' schools."

Labour is also planning to extend the standard tenancy agreement from a year or less to three years, following a probationary period of six months. Rents will be capped for the three-year tenancies.

Landlords would need to give two months' notice before asking a tenant to quit the premises, and only if they have a "good reason" to do so.

There were also warnings for "rogue" landlords that they face losing tax relief enabling them to offset 10% of their annual rental income against falls in the value of appliances and furniture.

Rents are on average £1,200 higher than they were in 2010, claim the Labour Party.