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Labour rent controls will worsen London landlord exodus warns ARLA

Rent controls of the kind which London mayor Sadiq Khan wishes to introduce will worsen what is already a huge exodus of landlords from the capital, warns ARLA.

Last week Khan revealed that he wanted to make rent controls a central policy in his re-election campaign ahead of next year’s mayoral poll. Currently he has no powers to execute such controls but - despite earlier suggesting that rent controls could be counter-productive - he now says the arguments in favour of the policy are “overwhelming, and Londoners want it to happen.”

In response, the Association of Residential Letting Agents’ chief executive David Cox is warning that such controls could make London’s challenging rental market worse.

He says London letting agent branches each saw an average of six landlords sell their properties and exit the market in December. 

This is compared to a national average of four and double the number of landlords selling up in the North East, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England and the South West, where agents reported three sales per branch.

“Over the last few years, landlords across the country have been pushed out of the market by increasing costs and legislation, and new investors have been deterred from entering. Last month’s results show that the issue has particularly intensified in the capital which may be the result of landlords starting to receive their first tax bill incorporating the increase in taxes from the Mortgage Interest Relief changes which came into force last tax year” explains Cox.

“If this trend continues, coupled with the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s, recent pledge to introduce rent controls, it will only serve to make the situation worse for London’s renters as more landlords are forced to sell up. As the supply of rental accommodation falls further, tenants will face more competition for properties, which will push up rents on good-quality, well-managed properties, and leave the vulnerable and low-income people which rent controls are designed to help, in the hands of rogue and criminal operators.”

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