Please Note: This Article is 4 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

Part of Jeremy Corbyn’s 10 point plan for the country includes the old chestnut of the left – rent controls and “secure tenancies” – in the private rented sector, which, according to property experts would spell disaster for tenants, reducing the supply and the quality of homes to let.

The Residential Landlords Associate (RLA) as reacted strongly to the suggestion, claiming that introducing controlled rents would inevitably reduce the supply of rental homes, worsening the UK housing crisis.

Alan Ward, RLA chairman said the plans would be spell disaster for private renters:

“Jeremy Corbyn’s call for rent controls would be a disaster for tenants. He is ignoring all history and experience which shows that where such controls are applied they choke off the supply of homes to rent, making it more difficult for tenants to access decent and affordable housing.  This has previously been acknowledged by Labour’s former Minister responsible for housing in Wales.

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“Rather than playing the populist tune, Mr Corbyn would do well to consider the facts. Figures in the English Housing Survey show that private sector tenants are spending an average of 4 years in their current property, up from 3.7 five years ago. Such tenants are also more satisfied with their accommodation than those in the social rented sector according to the same survey.”

The RLA has a long standing opposition to the introduction of rent controls. It believes they will affect the quantity and quality of homes on offer and has been campaigning on this issue for a number of years.

When the UK last had rent controls, introduced as wartime measures in the 30s, and continued under Labour and conservative governments up to the 1980s, the size of the Private Rented Sector went from more than half of households – 55% – in 1939 to just 8% in the late 1980s.

“Putting a price limit on anything that is below the market rate is going to create a shortage. If rents are capped, limiting landlords’ returns, then some will inevitably leave the market – especially in light of the recent tax grab from former chancellor George Osborne,” says the RLA

“They [Rent Controls] also discourage movement, with many households in cities in the US and Germany where rent controls are in place living in unsuitable accommodation as it would be too expensive to move elsewhere.

“Rent controls would destroy investment in new housing, push up prices and make it far harder for people to find a flat or house to rent, as well as limiting the landlord’s ability to adequately finance maintenance work.

“The RLA believes that rather than penalising landlords for providing much needed rental homes the Government needs to address the issue of supply to stabilise rents in the long term.”

Please Note: This Article is 4 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.
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6 COMMENTS

  1. I\’m a landlord and a labour party member, and I shall be voting for Corbyn. I charge reasonable rents for my flats in NW England – even if I wanted to charge more, people wouldn\’t pay it, it is self regulating. If it means London landlords being prevented from charging completely ridiculous rents particularly in HMOs then bring it on. Private renting has filled the gap created by the sell off of council housing. Corbyn\’s pledge to build more is needed so that ordinary people can once more live & thrive in reasonably priced, secure places to live. I grew up in a council house whilst my parents worked hard & saved to buy a house, but there is no way now that could happen to an ordinary family. He\’s a breath of fresh air in politics.

    • I am also a landlord.
      The reason rents are so high in London is because there are far more people wanting to rent than there are homes available to rent.
      Its called supply and demand.

      I have not been increasing rents charged to my tenants.
      You start introducing rent controls and all the landlords will slowly start selling up.
      Where are these tenants going to live then?

      Not everyone can afford to buy, and these rent controls are likely to increase homelessness.

      Is that what you want to see?
      That might cost the labour party some votes if ultimately the majority of tenants end up struggling to find a place to live, and the ones remaining cant move elsewhere because there is nowhere.

      Rent controls wont control the amount landlords have to pay out oon their mortgage, and they wont control the amount it costs to buy that home in the first place regardless of where in the country the rented property is located.

    • Margaret, I think you are being \”rather shortsighted\” – and you are certainly being very naive. You seem to be assuming \”I\’m alright Jack\” will apply to you, and you could be in for a rude awakening if \”someone\” at some point turns round and tells you that you can\’t charge what you do now.
      You are correct about it being self regulating – to an extent. As many have said time and time again, high house prices and high rents are not the problem, they are a symptom of the problem – that there are more people looking for a roof over their head than there are roofs to put over them. The answer to that is one or more of : decrease the number of people looking for a home, increase the number of homes, or increase the number of people living under each roof.
      Population control has never been politically acceptable except in authoritarian regimes – and China is now starting to reap the problems stored up by it\’s one child per couple policy.
      Building more homes is well talked about, but this is a business – and all large developments rely on people able to buy off plan for funding. Few owner occupiers have the money to slap down large deposits a year or two in advance – so those off plan sales are generally to landlords for rental. Tell those landlords that they won\’t be able to charge a rent that makes a reasonable return on investment and they won\’t invest – and that means the development won\’t happen. So when someone tell you that stopping buy to let would make more homes available – they are either lying or ignorant because exactly the opposite would happen.
      As to number of heads under a roof. Traditionally children stayed in the family home until they got married and got a home of their own – though many stayed in one or other of their parents home for a while. Now lots of people are wanting a home of their own – and that artificially inflates the demand for homes. Add in that many people these days want to start half way up the ladder – it\’s easy to complain that it\’s someone (typically landlords) else\’s fault that they can\’t start off in a medium semi with drive and large garden instead of the small bedsit (flat) and work up like their parents did.

      It\’s been shown time and time again that rent control will only produce (at best) a very short term benefit before the rental market contracts and tenants lose out badly.

    • I agree with you Margaret. Under Corbyn, the Labour Government will massively increase the building of affordable houses for rent through Local Councils. This, so the people can once again have a secure place to live as an affordable stable base from which they can proceed towards living their lives, and without the fear of a destabilising private market. If people can but look beyond the right wing media propaganda I am sure they will see what he stands for as a \’breath of fresh air.\’ However, the \’establishment\’ have no interest in letting the people have too much fresh air, for fear that the people will wake up, realise what has really been going on, and turf them ( the so called elite ) out into the wilderness. Corbyn\’s time has surely come?.

    • Margaret, I am a landlord in Yorkshire and agree that rent controls would not be much of a problem for me either. That suggests they are not necessary for large parts of the country.

      Are we qualified to pronounce on the London market? I can see that established Landlords may be doing very nicely from properties bought many years ago but that is not the main issue. Nobody is a landlord for ever, the market turns over with some leaving each year and that means new blood having to pay the going rate to buy rental stock.

      I would suggest that yields from properties in London and the south east are actually lower than in the north despite what may appear to be ridiculously high rents – the property purchase price being equally ridiculous to many. Of course there may be landlords in London benefitting from over occupation of sub standard HMOs but that is a separate issue which may even be worsened by setting uneconomic rents.

      As a side note, I have tenants on contracts that were originally 6 month ASTs which have become periodic and they have been in situ for 17 years, 13 years, 12 years and 10 years respectively. The main threat to the security they enjoy is uninformed meddling from out of touch politicians from whatever party, I have already sold 2 properties from 15 due to impending changes from George Osborn\’s assault on unincorporated landlords.

  2. PS. I do support more direct building of low cost housing by Government, the present incumbents will not achieve anything due mainly to Osborne\’s ineptitude and playing to populist sentiment regarding private landlords. However the one clear and sensible aim of Corbyn to deal with this fundamental problem is unlikely to be achieved as it is lumped in with a very anti landlord sentiment and, like every other issue, doesn\’t form a basis for getting Labour into power.

    Building 1 million homes above the existing output of the housebuilding companies would solve most of the problems – so why on earth does Corbyn spoil the winner that he would be onto by talking about rent controls etc when they wouldn\’t be needed.

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