Earlier this week the housing charity Shelter confounded many in the private rented sector by concluding on its website that tough rent caps could backfire - now the chief executive of the organisation has gone public with his reservations.
Writing on the Huffington Post website, Campbell Robb says: “Though they appear an easy solution, rent caps could actually cause more problems for tenants.”
Drawing on research for the organisation conducted by the University of Cambridge, Robb says: “The researchers predict that driving down the cost of rents in this way will cause evictions to rise, conditions to get worse, and make it a lot tougher for any one on a low income (especially those on housing benefit) to find somewhere to live.”
However, he has repeated the long-held Shelter policy - supported by some in the private rental sector - that longer tenancies, lasting routinely for five years, could be more supportive for families that rent. He says this could be consolidated with rents rising predictably, perhaps in line with an inflation measure.
As many across the political and professional spectrum might agree, however, Robb says in his Huffington Post column that the real problems of rent levels exist in the shortfall between rental property supply and demand.
“Here, sadly, there is no short cut. If we're serious about wanting house prices and rents to be more affordable, then we have to be building more genuinely affordable homes” he says.