London tenants worse off under proposed rent controls

Property Reporter
9th April 2021
London 77

Proposed moves to control rent rises by linking them to inflation would leave tenants worse off, warns the National Residential Landlords Association who branded the idea a "disaster".

According to a new analysis published today, private rents have fallen every year in real terms throughout Sadiq Khan's time at City Hall and are now nearly 10% lower than five years ago when compared to the Retail Price Index.

The NRLA highlighted that rents in the capital have fallen by 9.6% between April 2016 (the month before Sadiq Khan came to office) and February 2021. Even compared to the Consumer Price Index, including housing costs, which the Government has said it plans to start using, rents fell by 5.1 % over the same period.

In his manifesto for re-election as Mayor, Sadiq Khan calls for the power to introduce rent controls in London. This is despite a report published by The Treasury in 2010 under the last Labour Government, in which the current Mayor was a Minister, that warned of the devastating impact such a policy would have on inner-city housing.

Assessing the impact of rent controls before they were abolished in 1988, the report concluded that they had been a major factor in the “decay of much of the inner city housing stock.”

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “Rent controls would be a disaster for London as the last Labour Government made crystal clear. They would mean tenants actually paying higher rents than leaving them to market forces.

“The story of rent controls wherever they have been introduced is that they exacerbate an already serious shortage of available homes.

“Rather than calling for things he cannot deliver, the Mayor should focus on using the powers he already has to boost the supply of available housing, including for private rent.”

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