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News: Activists want Rent Control Board to limit rent rises

Wed, 07 Apr 21

A pressure group for tenants wants the next Mayor of London to win powers from the government to reduce rents, through a series of measures.

These include freezing rents within tenancies, and “a rent control system that aims to reduce rents overall”, the linking of rents to the quality of homes, and a London-wide Rent Control Board to exercise unspecified “tough penalties for landlords who break the rules.”

Generation Rent says its research amongst tenants in the capital shows that Berlin’s system of long-term rent caps is the most popular; a points-based system governing the level of rent that can be charged on homes in the Netherlands was the second most popular, and the Danish model where rents are based on costs also had support. 

But activists in the campaign rejected the Scottish model that simply limits increases in the rent during a tenancy.

Meanwhile Generation Rent also claims that private tenants in nine London boroughs “face paying half of their income or more in rent.” It makes its calculation by saying that rent on the typical two-bedroom home in the capital costs 45 per cent of a full-time salary.

It says that in March 2020, the rent on the median two-bedroom home in London was £1,450 and the median full-time salary was £38,592. “That would mean that a single-earner family with a baby would be spending 45 per cent of their earnings on rent” ays the group.

Generation Rent’s manifesto for London also calls for the building 60,000 new homes to house people currently in temporary accommodation, regulating illegal year-round holiday lets that take homes out of the long term market, and taking unspecified action with the Metropolitan Police to tackle illegal evictions. 

Baroness Alicia Kennedy, the pressure groups’ director, says: “High rents force people into poverty and make it almost impossible to save towards the future. No one should have to spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent, yet this is a reality for most Londoners who are stuck in the private rented sector.

“Londoners urgently need bold action to make renting more affordable. Investment in housebuilding is needed to make renting more affordable long-term, but rent controls would offer immediate protection and relief.”

 

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