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Landlords slam London Mayor's call for ‘disaster’ two-year rent freeze

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has slammed London Mayor Sadiq Khan's call for a rent freeze in the capital.

Yesterday, ahead of the eviction ban being lifted from Monday, Khan called on the government to freeze rents in London to prevent evictions caused by Covid-19.

The NRLA says rent controls in the capital would be 'a disaster for tenants'. Khan is requesting that new powers are introduced to prevent rent increases for two years.

"A rent freeze is only one part of a package of measures renters urgently need from government to ensure no one is forced out onto the streets as a result of this pandemic," said the Mayor.

"The end of the furlough scheme means even more renters in the capital are now at risk of pay cuts or losing their job."

"Yet at every stage of this pandemic, renters have been treated as an afterthought by the government, with protection measures only ever rushed out at the last minute," the Labour Mayor added.

He drew comparisons to Berlin where rents have been frozen for five years, saying that London should be able to freeze rents for two years in 'extraordinary times'.

In response, the NRLA has drawn attention to a 2010 report from the last Labour government, of which Khan was a member, which stated that historic rent controls had been a major factor in the 'decay of much of the inner city housing stock'.

The association says the proposals for a rent freeze also 'fly in the face' of warnings from the Centre for Cities that rent controls would 'close off London to new residents'.

"As history and experience elsewhere tells us, all [rent controls] would do is drive landlords out of the market exacerbating an already serious shortage of homes available," says Chris Norris, NRLA policy director.

"Rather than driving a wedge between landlords and tenants the Mayor should focus on using the powers he already has to boost the supply of available housing, including for private rent."

Norris says that the NRLA does, however, support the Mayor's call for greater financial support for tenants struggling with rent arrears.

"In the end this would help them, and the majority of landlords who are individuals and not property tycoons, to sustain tenancies."

  • James B

    Khan back on chasing the tenants votes again

    Matthew Payne

    Exactly, the campaign gun fro May 21 has sounded! He is simply shoring up support amongst tenants, many who may have had their heads turned at the 2019 GE by the Tories with all their own tenant friendly mood music. He knows there will never be a rent freeze anymore than he could wish to freeze house prices, but he has to be seen going into the trenches appearing to fight their battles. Conviction politicians are long gone sadly.

     
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    Considering that rents have actually gone down quite a bit in London in the last few months, you can tell how comepletely disconnected he is from what is actually happening on the ground. Elections looming, let's get some more votes. I do hope he goes because not only he's done nothing for this city since he took power, but he actually managed to make things a lot worse. And funnily enough, we hardly saw him during the lockdown, bar for a few appearences to criticise the government's actions. Where was he when the city needed him? Hiding, of course! What has he actually done for this city? He is one of those exceptionally phoney policitians that disgust me.

    Algarve  Investor

    He's still a vast improvement on his predecessor, whose various vanity projects - the Garden Bridge, anyone? - are still being paid off by the taxpayer. Boris was also responsible for signing off all the many luxury developments - with apartments mostly sold to overseas investors who never use them - which are everywhere you look in London. The 2012 Olympics could certainly be hailed as a success in bringing the country together and providing some great sporting moments, but its legacy has been appalling and again we're still paying for it. How much does the slide tower thing cost to run?

    I don't happen to agree with Khan on rent controls, and do find him a bit insincere and slippery at times, but I think he has the best interests of Londoners at heart and has introduced some good initiatives, especially surrounding transport, since coming to office.

    He is also a dead cert to get re-elected because the Tories have put up a Brexiteer in a Remain city. London is also very much a Labour stronghold these days, and I can't see Shaun Bailey reversing that.

     
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