Rent controls would curb London monster
Speaking at a London Keynote Seminar with the theme ‘Next steps for housing policy in London – supply, standards and affordability’, she acknowledged that a lack of housing supply is the long-term issue.
But without short-term measures to make renting more affordable she reckoned talented young professionals like teachers will leave the city in droves and set up shop where they can afford to rent and buy.
She wasn’t the only speaker to bring up rent controls, as Christine Whitehead, emeritus professor of housing economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, also said there is a case for rent stabilisation within longer-term tenancies.
Dillner said: “We would like to see short-term things coming in such as rent stabilisation; rent control. I know that’s not a very popular thing to say but we recognise that the supply issue is the big issue.
“But even if we were to step in and start building all the homes that we need tomorrow there is still going to a lot of pain felt by many people in the private rental sector for years to come.”
She added: “We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve put it [the housing sector] on steroids and created a monster that is squashing everything in sight including other sectors, so we see the entry level workforce and even middle class workforce like teachers having a hard time with their lives in London because their wages do not meet their need in the housing sector.
“We are seeing teachers trained [In London] leave because they can get jobs in Essex, jobs in Yorkshire, and they can actually buy and rent homes.
“It’s going to have a detrimental effect on the state of the city if we cannot figure out a good way of doing right by the people who need to live here to keep this city moving.”
Whitehead was earlier pressed on the issue – and the economist agreed that in some cases rent controls represent a viable option in the city.
She said: “There is certainly a case for longer-term tenancies and for enabling those longer-term tenancies and within that there would automatically be some rent stabilisation within the tenancy.”