Dame Tessa Jowell warns about people pushing for a rent cap in London saying they should think twice about the policy idea.
Dame Tessa told the Camden New Journal:
“I think before taking a step like that you have to be very clear that it doesn’t have unintended consequences… If you have a six-month lease in very poor accommodation, it doesn’t feel like home. It just feels like somewhere you can afford to live for a period of time.”
The former culture secretary and Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Dulwich and West Norwood from 1992 to 2015 is hoping to secure Labour’s London mayoral nomination.
The former Olympics Minister added, there’s “a growing sense that London was a city for the very poor and the ultra-rich” and that she was tired of investors buying up homes like “gold bars”.
Dame Jowel didn’t say what she thinks those consequences might be, but she did say it was time for landlords to offer longer leases and a higher quality of accommodation.
She was speaking as she joined Labour’s general election campaign in Hampstead and Kilburn alongside comedian Eddie Izzard, a Labour supporter who was canvassing in a two-piece suit and high heels, on Sunday.
Camden’s Labour Party has been calling for rent caps recently and council leader Sarah Hayward has voiced her concerns about the difficulty facing those searching for an affordable home.
She said, echoing national Labour Party policy on private renting, in a recent article:
“A number of things would help. These include longer tenancies, stabilising rents with either a cap or at least consistent increases to help tenants manage costs, and cracking down on letting agency fees.”
In a recent article titled “Why rent control will halt house-building” the National Landlords Association (NLA) said:
“Rent control is understandably considered part of an unholy trinity of public policy by private landlords, along with indefinite security of tenure and unwarranted licensing schemes.
“There is good reason for landlords to fear the re-introduction of price intervention policies. They have a long history of market damage in the UK and abroad, never less than when private rents are concerned. However, little focus is given to the implications price control can have on other facets of the housing supply chain.
“In the uncertainty that would undoubtedly follow proposals to introduce rent limits, both landlords and risk-averse lenders will almost certainly focus their intentions on lower risk investments and decimating new-build demand. The consequence of which will be stalled sites and a further reduction in house building.”
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) April 20, 2015