It looks likely that the Conservative party is set to formally oppose rent controls when it publishes its manifesto, probably in 10 days time.
It’s now been reported that the current Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, told a Commons committee shortly before the formal start of the election that he was strongly opposed to such controls.
His comments came after it was known that an election was likely, so is being interpreted as being an insight into official party policy.
“I am not in favour of rent controls” Jenrick told the final meeting of the Housing, Communities and Local Government select committee before the election recess. “That has 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” he continued.
A series of trade groups and academics have spoken out against politicians’ proposals for rent controls in the recent past - the strongest advocates have been the Labour party, which has called for rent caps in an unspecified number of major cities, and the Liberal Democrats, who have spoken in broad terms supporting the idea.
Labour’s London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has been the most vocal supporter of rent controls, although he has no power to implement them in the capital.
In addition, a government spokesman has made it clear that there is also no intention of introducing a mandatory national register of private landlords - and again this is being interpreted as indicating it will be Tory policy in next month’s election.
In a response to a written question in the House of Lords, delivered just before the election recess, government spokeswoman Baroness Thornhil, Viscount Younger of Leckie said: “This government commissioned an independent review into selective licensing which was published on 25 June 2019 and the recommendations are currently being reviewed.
“This government has no current plans to introduce a national landlord register, which could place an additional regulatory burden on landlords. This government is committed to improving the private rented sector by driving out criminal landlords and landlords who consistently neglect their responsibilities to provide safe and decent accommodation.
“Local authorities currently have a wide range of powers available to them including banning orders for the worst offenders, civil penalties of up to £30,000 and a database of rogue landlords and property agents targeted at the worst persistent and criminal offenders.”