Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London is developing a blueprint to stabilise or control private rents in London.
Once these proposals around rent stabilisation and control are complete, if it is the case that Mayor doesn’t have the requisite powers, he will campaign and lobby for them to be implemented by national government.
Khan said: “London is in the middle of a desperate housing crisis that has been generations in the making.
“At City Hall we are doing everything in our power to tackle it – including building record numbers of new social homes – but I have long been frustrated by my lack of powers to help private renters.
“Our Rogue Landlord Checker, which has now been checked more than 76,000 times, is making a real difference – but the truth is that the laws for private renters are simply not fit for purpose.
“The arguments for rent control are overwhelming, and Londoners overwhelmingly want it to happen. I am delighted Karen Buck MP has agreed to work with my Deputy Mayor for Housing on proposals for new laws that would help make private rents more affordable.
“It’s vital that the government acts to improve the quality of millions of lives, now and in the future.”
However John Goodall, chief executive and co-founder of buy-to-let specialist Landbay,said: “Rent controls are likely to lead to a reduced investment into the rental sector and thus a further shortage of high quality rental accommodation.
“That will not lead to a positive outcome for London’s renters as they will find it harder to find decent properties.
“The mayor should be looking to find ways to encourage investment rather than political grandstanding that will end up harming those that he claims that he is trying to help.”
The most recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows that in the year to December 2018, rents in London increased by 0.2%, well below inflation.
Furthermore John Stewart, policy manager for the Residential Landlords Association, thought the rent control proposals would reduce incentives to invest in new property.
He said: “It is curious that the Mayor is considering introducing rent controls at a time when rents in London are falling in real terms according to official data.
“The Labour Party in Wales has previously rejected rent controls arguing that they reduce incentives to invest in new property when we need more and lead to a reduction in the quality of housing. The same would be the case in London.
“All evidence around the world shows that where forms of rent control are in place, decoupling prices from the value of properties hurts both tenants and landlords.
“In the end what is needed is a relentless focus on boosting the supply of housing.”
City Hall and YouGov found strong support for rent controls in the capital, with over two-thirds of Londoners surveyed in favour of the government capping the amount that landlords can charge people renting their property.
Between 2005 and 2016 average private rents in London rose by 38%, and the average private rent for a one-bedroom home in London is now more than the average for a three-bedroom home in every other English region.
Sadiq has invited Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, to work with his Deputy Mayor for Housing James Murray to develop proposals for rent stabilisation or control laws, whilst at the same time protecting new supply and investment.
Hannah Slater, policy manager at Generation Rent added: “Londoners are paying some of the highest rents in the world and many are struggling to keep a roof over their head in the area they grew up in or close enough to where they work.
“Unaffordable rent increases force people into stressful moves away from neighbourhoods where they have roots, thereby eroding London’s communities.
“Renters need stability in our homes that can only come from certainty over what rent we pay – but we need to afford a home in the first place. We applaud the Mayor’s commitment to explore how rent controls can work to provide Londoners with stable and affordable homes.”