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22/07/2019

Khan wants powers to introduce rent controls

Words: Laura Edgar
Rent control / iStock-585092234

The Mayor of London wants the private sector in the capital to provide open-ended tenancies. He also wants to establish a system to control rents.

A blueprint published by City Hall sets out what powers Sadiq Khan wants from the government so that he can introduce such measures.

According to Greater London Authority (GLA) analysis, the average private rent for a one-bed home in London is now more than the average for a three-bed in every other region of England. This is why Khan believes the case for City Hall being given powers to bring rents down “has become overwhelming”.

His proposals would see a London Private Rent Commission established, with renters to sit on the board. Furthermore, he wants the powers to create a universal register of landlords and rents.

The commission would use this register to:

  • Design an effective system of rent control, including its own role in implementing, monitoring and enforcing the new approach.
  • Set out how existing rents should be gradually reduced and their subsequent levels limited within and between tenancies.
  • Recommend incentives to encourage investment in new and existing rental housing supply.

For the interim, the mayor wants powers that limit rent increases within and between tenancies.

While the full system of rent control is being implemented, the mayor wants powers that limit rent increases within and between tenancies.

The report outlines out how the law on tenancies should be overhauled, including by introducing open-ended tenancies, ending no fault evictions by removing section 21, and increasing landlord-to-tenant notice periods to four months.

Khan hopes the government will take these proposals on board when it formulates its own proposals for consultation on tenancy reform.

Khan said: “Unlike other mayors around the world, I have no powers over the private rented sector. That's why this landmark report sets out a detailed blueprint of what the government must do to overhaul tenancy laws, and what powers City Hall needs from them to bring rents down.

“We have made important progress over the last three years by working closely with councils and renters – from ‘naming and shaming’ rogue landlords and banning letting agents fees for tenants, to being part of the successful campaign to scrap ‘section 21’.

“But now we need the government to play their part by making tenancy laws fit for purpose, and by enabling us to bring in the rent control Londoners so urgently need.”

The rent control proposals were developed by Karen Buck MP and deputy mayor James Murray, drawing from proposals by the New Economics Foundation.


Reaction:

Andrew Boff AM said: "This move towards rent controls amounts to nothing more than an attempt to distract from Khan’s dire track record on housing, with the Mayor once again prioritising spin over substance...

"Rather than trying to artificially suppress rents when he has no power to, the Mayor should improve affordability by using the billions of pounds at his disposal to increase housing supply. He could start by reversing his decision to restrict building on swathes of brownfield industrial land and bringing back a family homes target in order to stop the exodus of Londoners to the home counties and beyond”.

Greg Beales, campaigns director at Shelter, said: “There’s no doubt that private renters in London are feeling the full force of this country’s housing crisis. At Shelter we continually hear from Londoners who, despite working every hour they can, are constantly struggling to cover their rent. So we hope to work with the mayor to develop these proposals and ensure they will work for those hit the hardest by affordability pressures.

“Rent controls are used in many other major cities around the world to give tenants predictable and stable rents, but we must remember no form of rent control can be hailed as a magic cure. Any scheme must sit alongside a clear commitment to build many more social homes, without which we cannot solve the housing emergency.”


Image credit | iStock

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