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News: Proposed rent controls will 'drive landlords out of the market'

Mon, 09 Mar 20

Labour’s proposals to introduce rent controls in London risks reducing the number of private homes available for rent, as landlords look to exit the private rented sector. 

Shadiq Khan is being urged to forget about rent controls and instead focus on increasing the supply of rental accommodation in the capital by enticing more people to invest in the PRS. 

The Mayor of London has called on the government to hand him extra powers so he can cap rents in the city in order to rebalance London's private rented sector and make it, in his view, "fit for purpose".

But the Residential Landlords Association and the National Landlords Association are warning that plans for rent controls, which are at the heart of Khan's re-election bid, would be a disaster for aspiring tenants. 

The Centre for Cities has warned that strict rent control “would close off London to new residents” and the Resolution Foundation commented that holding down the true market price of private housing via rent controls rather than increasing housing supply is unlikely to succeed.

Professor Kath Scanlon, a housing expert at the London School of Economics, last year warned that the Mayor’s rent control proposals would result in landlords simply deciding that they were no longer going to rent their properties.

John Stewart, policy manager for the RLA, and Chris Norris, policy director for the NLA, said: “Rent controls might appear attractive to those already renting but they would be a disaster for anyone looking for somewhere to rent. All they would achieve, as history and experience elsewhere tells us, is to drive landlords out of the market exacerbating an already serious shortage of homes available.

“Instead of putting out simplistic and superficially appealing proposals in attempt to win votes, the Mayor should focus on boosting the supply of available housing using the powers he already has. Only then will he make any discernible impact on improving the affordability of housing across the capital.”

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