By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Warning To Labour - Rent Controls Just Won’t Work

If Labour plans to bring in rent controls they won’t work, a property association has warned. 

The National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) says the idea would lead to an exodus of landlords from the private rental sector.

The comment comes days after the Shadow Chancellor hinted rent controls of some sort could be a key part of Labour’s policy-approach to handle the housing crisis. 


Labour may give local councils or mayors the power to set rent caps if it wins power in the July 4 election - despite the fact that this appears to directly contradict the party’s policy as set out recently.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said in a BBC Radio interview she would support a cap on rents in some areas, but not everywhere.

“I think that should be up to local areas to decide, there may be the case for that in some local areas, but as a blanket approach, I’m not convinced by that,” she said on BBC radio.

Reacting to the idea, Jonathan Rolande, spokesman for the NAPB, says: “There is no doubt rent control seems to solve, at a stroke, many of the issues afflicting the property market. It has long been a socialist policy as it instantly benefits society’s poorer, whilst penalising the wealthy. There’s only one problem, a watered down version doesn’t work.

“Unless tenants have complete security of tenure – they cannot be forced to leave even if the property is sold as with sitting tenants decades ago, then landlords will simply take fright, evict and sell. Prices will fall and many homes will be bought by people who would otherwise be tenants.  But for the millions who don’t want to buy or realistically never will, the poorest and most vulnerable in society, well for them things would become far worse.

“New landlords would not enter the sector, current ones would leave. The supply of new rental homes would evaporate. Even those willing and able to pay more to secure a property, would not be able to do so. Rachel Reeves, if she was indeed flirting with the idea will know that the housing crisis has been long in the making and is extremely complex. The simplistic approach to control rent would backfire.”

Earlier this week Propertymark - the letting agents’ trade body - said it wanted Labour to come clean on its rent control policy, as the party repeatedly flip-flops on the issue.

A recent report commissioned by the former shadow housing secretary, Lisa Nandy - and called the Private Rented Sector Commission’s Independent Review into the Private Rented Sector in England - has just reported and argues for a system of rent ‘stabilisation’, which would mean annual rent increases, and stopping private rental sector landlords from moving their own properties to other sectors such as the short-term and holiday lets sections.   

Reeves’ comments on BBC Radio were in response to this report. Yet the official Labour policy is not to back rent controls, and instead push for increased protections for private tenants, plus turbo-charging the construction of affordable homes for rent and purchase.

  • icon

    Landlords are already selling up. That is why tenants are finding it hard to get accommodation and rents have risen. The law of supply and demand.

  • icon

    Many landlords have sold as the person said above and many will sell if they can if labour place a price cap on property forcing even more demand in the PRS.
    Putting a price cap on some certain areas, no doubt London! will force working people/families out of London, then causing another increase in demand on their chosen area.
    Councils need to look at who they are offering HB too to relieve the demands in certain areas that are already full!!
    Whoever is in power next, they need to have a clear plan Build to sell/rent is the one way to settle the demand. But there are other ways too, maybe they should ask professionals in the business… Instead of trying to gain votes

  • icon

    I'm not a labour supporter, but I think rather than a rent cap, a cap on how much rent can be increased, to vary area by area would be better. This would stop Landlords putting it up by 50% or ridiculous amounts. Off the top of my head, in my area 10% or £100 (whichever is higher) would be a fair amount to say it cannot be increased above. I have some landlords who have kept their rents low for years, but with rising costs are having to increase. One has been renting a lovely cottage out for £200 a month, and has had to put it up to £300 a month, and the tenant has said that is a very fair increase. I suspect she was expecting higher, and we have pre-warned her that it will be going up another £100 in 2025 and again in 2026 and then we will re-assess.

  • icon

    Look the answer is simple - the country needs a PRS, and probably a bigger one than we currently have (nobody's going to build them in the short term anyway) - just restore the same tax benefits applicable to any business and the landlords will return, more so as interest rates drop - or even enhance the tax benefits and the market will increase to such an extent rents will drop.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up