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23/01/2019

Khan to lobby for controlled rents

Words: Laura Edgar
Housing / iStock_000074406885

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will develop a blueprint that aims to stabilise or control private rents in the capital.

A poll carried out by City Hall and YouGov suggests there is strong support for rent controls in the capital: 68 per cent of those polled supported such a move. Just 16 per cent did not support rent controls.

Scotland has recently introduced new laws that allow councils to apply to implement rent pressure zones. This means that rent increases are capped at no higher than inflation. London and the rest of England and Wales have a private rental sector characterised by “very weak protections for renters”, the mayor said.

Khan has asked Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, to work with the deputy mayor for housing James Murray to develop proposals for rent stabilisation or rent control laws that would help to make rents in the private sector more affordable. Proposals should also protect new supply and investment.

Currently, Khan doesn’t have the power to establish rent controls, and if that remains the case, he said he would campaign and lobby for them to be implemented by the government.

He said: “The arguments for rent control are overwhelming, and Londoners overwhelmingly want it to happen.

“Karen Buck MP has agreed to work with my deputy mayor for housing on proposals for new laws that would help make private rents more affordable. It’s vital that the government acts to improve the quality of millions of lives, now and in the future.”

Buck said: “London’s private renters are among the worst-affected by the housing crisis in the capital, and the laws to protect them are woefully out of date. We need an approach to rent stabilisation and control that works in London, and I am very pleased to be working with Sadiq’s team to develop a blueprint for what government should do. Once we have set out these proposals, we will argue the case that ministers must support London’s private renters by putting our plans into action.”

Speaking about the proposals, Jean-Marc Vandevivere, CEO of PLATFORM_, said: "Rent controls risk undoing the considerable progress London has made in creating a professionalised, purpose-built rental sector similar to what's available to renters in North America and elsewhere. What's more is that rents in the capital are already falling.

"Time and time again has shown rent controls do little to help renters. In fact they do the opposite by discouraging the supply of new rental housing as well as investment into existing stock leading to poorer quality accommodation.

"With extra tax and regulation forcing buy-to-let landlords out of the market, London renters face a perfect storm of poor policy reducing supply at a time when demand for rental properties is growing."

Image credit | iStock

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