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Agents hit back at Labour Mayor’s demand for rent controls

ARLA Propertymark has hit back at a demand from London Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan that he be given the powers to control private rents in the capital.

Timothy Douglas, ARLA’s policy and campaigns manager, says: “Letting agents and landlords have been, and continue, supporting tenants through the pandemic, which includes agreeing to reductions in rent in order to sustain tenancies and this should be reflected in the Mayor’s approach to housing going forward.

“There is no evidence that rent controls prove to be effective and they generally lead to unintended consequences that reduce investment, drive down standards and lessen the number of properties available to rent. 

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“Additionally, the Tenant Fees Act introduced a cap on deposits and limits the charges that tenants face.

“High demand coupled with a shortage of supply is usually the reason for increased rents. Consequently, if the Mayor is concerned about the cost of renting he should be working with councils across London to build more affordable homes as well as freeing up land under his control for development.”

Last wek Khan claimed that rents in the capital could increase by almost 20 per cent over the next five years, unless he was given powers to control the market.

The forecast was based on his officers’ analysis of a Savills prediction that London rents could rise 19 per cent by 2025; applying this forecast to the latest Rightmove figures for new tenancies, average asking rents could rise to £2,289 a month Khan claims.

He claims that Londoners are currently paying on average 35 per cent of their income on rent, with one in four struggling to pay their rent during the pandemic or expecting to do so shortly. 

 

Khan himself says: “Nearly a third of Londoners are private renters, but all too often their calls for support and fairness on rents are overlooked by both landlords and the government.

“I was re-elected on a pledge to redress this balance and to stand up for London’s renters by transforming tenancy laws and wrestling back control of runaway rents. [This] analysis paints a stark picture of the next five years if landlords are allowed to increase prices unchecked.”

In May’s Mayoral election Khan argued for a London Private Rent Commission which would be responsible for designing and implementing rent controls. He wants powers to freeze private rents in the capital to protect renters from the ongoing financial impact of the pandemic.

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    How many of these "struggling tenants" are actually overseas workers who are happily picking up their furlough money back home in Poland or Lithuania, having simply abandoned their shared rental property?

    Kristjan Byfield

    Not sure opposing Khan with baseless, racist comments wins you much. Let's keep it classy and factual.

     
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    That useless and incompetent moron should tackle knife crime and look at reducing crime in London. People are getting beheaded in tubes! Mr Khant is focusing on destroying hard working local businesses and protecting the parasites of society.

    Kristjan Byfield

    Blimey Kilo- I appreciate you might be feeling a bit head sore today- but rolling out this 'go to' Khan slur is boring and weakens your argument, not strengthen it. I only ever see this comment from people who don't live in London and also aren't able to understand the simple political structure of police and funding for youths. Anyone who does knows full well this is the fault of the party that's been running this country for a decade.

     
  • Kieran Ryan

    Mr Khan, how much more can the Private Rental landlords take? Already landlords are selling their properties in droves, they've been hit with Covid arrears and so on. potential tenants are struggling to find private accommodation due to the scarcity in London. Rent controls will devistate this industry and will make it a much bigger problem.

    Kristjan Byfield

    Half of all UK Landlords have no mortgage. There is no evidence of an exodus anywhere in the country- and with nationwide rents outside the capital at their highest ever level many Landlords are seeing their best-ever returns. With London rental demand the lowest it's been in decades the last 16 months if anything there has been an over-supply of property- hence the drop of rents in the Capital by around 20%. Most London agents I know have very few arrears (our agency has zero)- but we are all keen to see the market take strength again but that wont happen until the City figures out what the new WFH landscape looks like.

     
  • Kristjan Byfield

    Clickbait politics from the London Mayor to win the Tenant vote with no way this is happening. Rents in London have dropped, on average, 20% in the last year or so- we have some Landlords with rent down by as much as 40%. Guess what- the market is self-regulating due to the normal influences of supply and demand. Rents will stay suppressed whilst London re-establishes itself after the pandemic and the WFH shift- and when it does, rents will start to climb again.

  • Kathryn Everson

    With so far good tenants in situ in our properties, we have maintained our rents at the same rate for 2 years now and just renewed at the same rate for an additional 2 years. Personally I would have loved to have only been paying out only 35% of my take home income on my mortgage over the years!. Sorry, private housing is not free or subsidised and nor should it be, it costs money and if this is what Sadiq Khan wants, then he needs to be working with London councils to build more public owned housing (or sorry, does that cost money as well?)

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