Rent Controls debate: more criticism aimed at Labour’s Sadiq Khan

The appeal by Labour’s Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to be given powers to introduce rent controls have been dealt a critical blow, according to a trade body.

The Residential Landlords Association claims that Office for National Statistics data published this week shows that in the 12 months to October 2019, private sector rents in the capital increased by an average of a mere0.9 per cent.

This is lower than inflation, which was 1.5 per cent as measured by the Consumer Price Index, and 2.1 per cent as measured by the Retail Price Index over the same period.

The association says that rent controls might actually have led to tenants paying more if rent levels had been linked to inflation.

Speaking to a committee of MPs before the Commons broke up for the General Election recess the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, warned that he was “not in favour of rent controls”, arguing that they have “proven to be very negative for both landlords and tenants in the past, and I do not want to see any move in that direction.”

Research by the RLA has suggested that around the world rent controls have been proven not to work, leading to a lower standard of housing and less choice for tenants.

Now David Smith, the association’s policy director, says: “[These] figures show how absurd proposals for rent controls are. Rents in London are falling in real terms yet the Mayor is failing to acknowledge this.

“If he wants to make renting cheaper it would be better to work constructively with good landlords to provide the new homes to rent the capital desperately needs. Without this, supply will fall, rents will go up, and tenants will have even less choice about where they live.”

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