Landlords have heavily criticised London mayor Sadiq Khan’s latest ‘disastrous’ plans to introduce rent controls in the capital, claiming they would leave renters worse off.
Rent controls are one of the Labour mayor’s key policy proposals as he seeks re-election for a second term.
He has based them on his oft-repeated claim that rents in London are ‘out of control’ and ‘unaffordable’ and need controlling, a point of view supported by the Labour party.
But the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) says this claim is not based in fact. Its analysis of government data shows that rents in London have fallen by 9.6% since Khan took office in April 2016.
Even when inflation is stripped out, rents have still reduced by 5.1 over the pasts five years, the NRLA says.
These reductions have been driven in part by the Covid exodus from London among its key renting demographic – young first and second jobbers – around a fifth of whom have returned to their parents’ home to ride out the pandemic.
The NRLA says Khan’s fondness for rent controls is also a significant U-turn – the Labour government he was a member of until 2010 produced a report rejecting rent controls.
It looked at their effects from 1918 to 1988 (when they were abolished), revealing how they led to lower investment by landlords in properties and ‘inner city decay’.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, says: “Rent controls would be a disaster for London as the last Labour Government made crystal clear.
“They would mean tenants actually paying higher rents than leaving them to market forces.
“The story of rent controls wherever they have been introduced is that they exacerbate an already serious shortage of available homes.
“Rather than calling for things he cannot deliver, the Mayor should focus on using the powers he already has to boost the supply of available housing, including for private rent.”
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