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Report from council keen on rent controls warns of supply problems

bristol renting report rent controls|

A Bristol Council report has urged caution when introducing rent controls for the city.

Councillors have been calling for central government to put the brakes on rent rises for months and set up the Bristol Living Rent Commission to explore the feasibility of controls.

It has come up with options including basing initial rents on the characteristics of a home, capping increases during a tenancy at a maximum yearly percentage, and linking increases between tenancies to the current market average. Another option would be to freeze rents as a '�short-term crisis measure'.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and Councillor Tom Renhard (pictured), cabinet member for housing, have sent a copy of the report to Housing Secretary Michael Gove, explaining that Bristol is now the UK's most expensive city to rent outside London, with the average rent growing by 12.9% annually.

The commission reports that while there was 'substantial public support'� for rent regulation to provide a long-term framework for private renting, views differed sharply.

Most private tenants and tenant charities considered rent control to be desirable, and some argued for a rent freeze. A much lower proportion of landlords, letting agents and property professionals agreed.

Negative impacts

There were also concerns about its potential negative impacts on availability and quality of housing supply, particularly among landlords, letting agents and investors.

Even some tenants were concerned that rent control, particularly if it were badly designed or poorly implemented, could make their lives harder rather than easier.

Some suggested a national rather than local system would be preferable as there were fears about Bristol 'going it alone'� and operating a substantially different policy framework from other areas.

The report admitted that an effective real-world rent control policy would most likely be complex and more subtle than its suggestions, adding: 'Great care is therefore needed when proceeding in the direction of rent control.'�


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