Housing minister Alok Sharma has told a major residential conference that rent controls will definitely not be a policy of the government for at least the duration of the current parliament.
Sharma, speaking at the Resi Conference in south Wales, told delegates that he was aware recent legislation may have led some to believe such controls were on the agenda. But he regarded these as Marxist controls, and unacceptable.
“Let me be clear ... rent controls will not happen” he said.
Sharma, in the most significant industry speech since he took office some 93 days ago, also insisted that the government’s Housing White Paper, delivered by his predecessor before the General Election, made it clear how important the private rental sector has become.
“There is a lot in it for you” he said, adding: “We will increase the quality and number of homes for the private rented sector.”
Sharma also said the White Paper’s measures on planning and house-building were his department’s priorities now.
He specified a £65m debt financing package to build 7,000 new homes - many of them Build To Rent properties in London.
He also said that later today his department would launch details of “local needs consultations” to help promote more housebuilding and push councils into more proactively preparing plans.
And in a message to housebuilders Sharma said that the current customer satisfaction level - he cited a survey revealing that 16 per cent of new home buyers would not recommend their builder - were “just not good enough.” Sharma said he would be considering whether there was a need for a new homes ombudsman.