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Labour says rent controls for UK cities could be based on London

Labour’s candidate for London Mayor wants to control private rents - and he wants the capital to be a template for other big UK cities.

Sadiq Khan has told the Independent newspaper that the introduction of rent controls in London could be replicated in other cities where housing is unaffordable.

The London Mayoralty does not include powers to control rents but at the last poll for the post - in 2016 - Khan called for increased authority over the private rental sector.


For this election - taking place today - he’s done the same, and tells the paper:  “I’m in favour of the government giving me the powers to bring in rent controls. I think we’ve got to recognise that London is different to the rest of the country in terms of housing need.

“The average cost of a one-bedroom home in London is more than the average cost of a three-bedroom home in the rest of England.”

Figures have shown rents have actually fallen in London over the past 15 months but Khan is unrepentant.

“Rents may have fallen slightly in London during the pandemic because some Londoners have temporarily left the city […] but this is only a temporary blip. My worry is that in a few months’ time hopefully we will have an [economic] recovery but we will be in the situation we had before.”

Lettings trade bodies have taken issue with Khan’s bid for power over rents.

An analysis by the National Residential Landlords Association shows that private rents have fallen every year in real terms throughout Khan’s period of office and are now nearly 10 per cent lower than five years ago when compared to the Retail Price Index.

The NRLA says figures from the Office for National Statistics show that rents in the capital have fallen by 9.6 per cent between April 2016 (the month before Khan first came to office) and February 2021. 

Even compared to the Consumer Price Index - including housing costs, which the government has said it plans to start using - rents fell by 5.1 per cent over the same period.

The NRLA is warning that any move to control rent rises by linking them to inflation would leave tenants worse off.

You can see the Khan interview in the Independent here

  • icon

    .......................London is different to the rest of the country.................
    I think he means different FROM the rest of the country.
    I suppose that if he could get his English correct he may gain some credibility.

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    Been there, done that - it virtually closed down the residential lettings market in the 70's and 80's. Once you put a cap on these rents what politician will ever raise it?

  • Philip Drake

    Some landlords set rent at the market rate and have the same tenant for over 10 years and may not increase the rent during that time.

    If rent controls are implemented, then these same landlords may increase the rent with inflation and so the tenant will be worse off.


    Ah, but you will still have to make an application to increase - can you imagine the extra bureaucracy, "we're very busy, working from home, putting our staff first, please allow a few months for a reply"

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    • JH
    • 12 May 2021 11:41 AM

    I can understand the pressure he is under - but this is not the answer. We are just about at the point where the last of the regulated tenancies are fading out of the housing stock - usually badly neglected properties that the owners had no incentive to maintain properly.
    Our flats in London are in blocks where a large number of the neighbouring ones sit vacant for months and years. Foreign owners who treat UK housing as a casino chip. A much better policy for London and even regional cities would be a proper crack-down on long-term empty property, to improve communities and to keep rents stable by increasing supply.


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