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Surprise as Shelter queries whether rent controls would really work

The housing charity Shelter - which in recent years has been aggressively critical of letting agencies and landlords in the private rental sector - has shocked many onlookers by being critical of Labour’s policy of rent controls.

Jeremy Corbyn announced controls - at least for city areas - in his closing speech at this week’s Labour party conference

But Shelter has warned that this could indirectly “end up harming” the very tenants which Corbyn and his colleagues seek to protect. 

Shelter chief executive officer, Polly Neale, says: “Shelter supports controls that lengthen tenancies and protect families from unfair rent rises, but not old fashioned rent-setting which we think could end up harming the very people on low incomes they’re meant to help, if and when landlords sell their properties.”

The comment received sharp criticism from one Corbyn supporter, the former Channel 4 journalist Paul Mason - now a cheerleader for the Labour party - who went to Twitter to say: “Shelter’s attack on Labour’s rent cap proposal is unfortunate. I thought the organisation’s aim was to protect tenants and homeless.”

He continued: “Their repeated opposition to rent caps does not seem based on evidence but on neoliberal assumptions about market behaviour.”

Mason’s tweets appear now to have been deleted.

Meanwhile the rental sector professionals continue in their criticism of the Labour proposal. The National Landlords’ Association has branded it “economically illiterate” and says government intervention through rent controls would be counter-productive to encouraging supply at a time when it is so badly needed.

“Rent control, or the artificial suppression of rents, may also serve as a barrier to further investment in the stock of private rented properties if the rent generated is too low to allow the landlord to operate a proper maintenance regime without making a financial loss” it adds.

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    At last some at the helm of Shelter who seems to understand a bit about the economics of the lettings business.

    Let's hope she'll change Shelters stance on Sec.24.

  • Simon shinerock

    Yes but you neoliberal's just don't understand the workings of the great Corbyn mind, destroying the PRS is all part of a master plan, a regrettable but necessary sacrifice on the path to the inevitable socialist nirvana where all citizens will bow down to the Great Corbyn and bask in his glory, all Hail Corbyn, all hail the High Sparrow

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    ................so Corbyn must really happy that this leftist Tory Government is executing his PRS plan for him (and taking the liability when it all goes pear-shaped).

     
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    It's no real surprise - as Shelter has been, on the one hand, lobbying against individual Landlords to undermine the PRS (attacking High Street Letting Agents, as one line of its strategy), whilst, on the other, has been implicitly supporting the move toward ultimate Corporate control of the sector's property holdings, by way of Build-to-Rent initiatives in particular. Shelter's puppet-masters would feel somewhat hamstrung, if the Labour party did somehow get elected after a few years of these Corporates' mega-investment into the market and Rent Controls are applied, as Corbyn promises. What an irony that would be !!

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    "assumptions about market behaviour". Well, I would have thought basing assumptions on historical evidence might be a good start Mr Mason.

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    No one should tell Landlords what rent to charge ever! These people do not understand the "Market"
    If you cap rents,you must also cap interest rates and other costs Landlords have to suffer.
    If tenants don,t like the rent,they don,t have to rent !
    Now with the new tax on Landlords ,rents must rise,with insurance tax increases,rents must rise.
    Don,t this idiot government know? it is them ,that are incresasing rents NOT Landlords!

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    you are crediting the Government & their advisor with more intelligence than is justifiable.

     
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