Rent controls in Manchester would damage housing supply

Ryan Fowler

October 4, 2019


Setting up rent controls in Manchester would cut off the the supply of homes to rent making and make it increasingly difficult for tenants to find homes, the Residential Landlords Association has warned. 

A report published jointly by The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and One Manchester has argued that the government should grant powers for the Combined Authority to establish rent pressure zones to control high rents.

All the evidence available shows that rent controls lead to a reduction in the supply of homes available for rent restricting choice for tenants, lower quality housing and has led in some places to an increase in homelessness.

In London, where a similar proposal is being made by the Mayor of London, the Centre for Cities has warned that strict rent controls would divide the city’s renters into “winners and losers.”

John Stewart, policy manager for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “Rent controls are on the face of it an attractive but simplistic and populist approach to the increased cost of housing.

“In reality they make the situation for tenants worse. All the evidence from around the world where they have been introduced shows that they reduce supply and drive up the cost of housing.

“Having controls on rent is not much help to a person who cannot find somewhere to live because of the cut in the number of properties available.“Instead, the Mayor of Greater Manchester needs to work with the private rented sector on how to boost the supply of homes for rent to meet ever growing demand.”

A recent article on rent controls in San Francisco in The Times warned that they have made the problem of homelessness worse, “because they discourage people from letting out property and thus reduce supply, pushing house prices up further.”

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