Proposals by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan for rent controls in the capital would be a disaster for tenants, driving landlords away from the capital, limiting the availability and quality of rental properties and, ultimately, increasing rents.
As Sadiq Khan once again seeks the powers to introduce them, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) is pointing to a report published by The Treasury in 2010 under the last Labour Government, of which the Mayor was a member.
Assessing the impact of rent controls before they were abolished in 1988, the report warned that they had been a major factor in the “decay of much of the inner city housing stock.”
Khan’s proposals fly in the face also of the Centre for Cities which has warned that strict rent controls “would close off London to new residents” and the Resolution Foundation which has concluded that holding down the true market price of private housing via rent controls rather than increasing housing supply is unlikely to succeed.
Professor Kath Scanlon, a housing expert at the London School of Economics (LSE) warned in 2019 too, that the Mayor’s rent control proposals would result in landlords simply leaving the market.
Chris Norris, Policy Director for the National Residential Landlords Association said, “Rent controls would be a disaster for anyone looking for somewhere to rent. As history and experience elsewhere tells us, all they would do is drive landlords out of the market exacerbating an already serious shortage of homes available.
“Rather than driving a wedge between landlords and tenants, the Mayor should focus on using the powers he already has to boost the supply of available housing, including for private rent. Only then will he make any discernible impact on improving the affordability of housing across the capital.”
He continued: “We do though support the Mayor’s calls for greater financial support for tenants struggling with rent arrears. In the end, this would help them, and the majority of landlords who are individuals and not property tycoons, to sustain tenancies.”