Rent controls are being discussed again as candidates prepare for May’s local elections.
In London Green Party mayoral candidate Sian Berry – who is herself in her sixth rented apartment since moving to the capital 25 years ago – wants rent controls imposed if she proves victorious.
Berry, who also favours ending Section 21 rights for landlords, says: “London needs a mayor who will be a real champion for renters, bringing down skyrocketing rents and bringing up the standards of housing.”
Her Labour rival and incumbent mayor Sadiq Khan has also been a long-term advocate of rent controls.
Last year, before the London mayoral vote was delayed a year because of the pandemic, Khan said: “The case for rent controls is now absolutely undeniable. But Tory ministers have blocked us from introducing our plans for rent controls in London and have simply said no.”
He said at the time that he was making the election a referendum on whether the London mayor’s role should include the right to impose rent controls.
Several parties in Scotland are also advocating rent controls but this has met sharp criticism from industry body Propertymark.
The Scottish Government’s Fair Rents Bill, which will be reintroduced to Scotland’s devolved parliament if the SNP retains control, has earned particular criticism from Propertymark.
“As rent controls take away autonomy from landlords to set their rent levels, further red tape to what is already required to let property in Scotland, will further discourage investment into the sector” it says.
Propertymark also believes such controls will have a negative impact on housing quality and existing housing stock as many areas’ rent levels will be insufficient to enable landlords to maintain properties.
“Property conditions in the private rented sector have vastly improved over the last decade – rent controls are likely to have the opposite effect and reverse the advancements made since deregulation” it suggests.
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.