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Corbyn rent control plan ‘an attack on landlords’

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would introduce rent controls across UK cities were the party to come into power – a move the RLA described as an attack on landlords.

The announcement, made at the Labour Party Conference today, was described as ‘disappointing’ by RLA policy director David Smith.

He said: “Rent controls would be a disaster for tenants. History has proved that they stifle investment and reduce supply; making it much more difficult for tenants to find somewhere decent to live.

“This is what happened before they were lifted in the 1980s and it led to a reduction in the quality of rented housing available.

“Private sector rents are increasing by less than inflation and the call for rent controls is a diversion from the real need to increase the supply of rented housing to meet the fast rising demand.

“The private rented sector has invested in providing homes for the population, putting more homes into use than any other landlord type. Instead of attacking landlords, the private rented sector should be seen as part of the solution to the housing crisis.”

Corbyn also announced Labour plans for a review of social housing policy, promising a ‘radical programme of action’ to bring to next year’s conference and vowed to ensure every home is fit for human habitation if Labour came into power.

He also said the party would tackle undeveloped land held by developers, who would be told to ‘use it or lose it’.

Labour plans for rent controls were first announced as part of the party’s election manifesto, in May this year.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


  • “the announcement, made at the Labour Party Conference today, was described as ‘disappointing’ by RLA policy director David Smith”

    “Disappointing”! that’s putting it mildly! A typical spineless comment from one of our three spineless associations. Landlords should by now have had enough and if they have any sense, start to sell up before the Marxist get in. If it’s not the tenants taking the @£*& out of Landlords, it’s the Government with the removal of tax breaks and increases in stamp duty, followed by the oppositions announcement of rent controls! I think it would serve them all right if there was no private sector landlords to regulate.

    Good luck, and close can the last person to leave the country close the door behind them?

  • Inflation Is likely to rise to 25% like It did under old labour In the 70’s and we will be stuck with houses that still need us paying for repairs whilst not receiving an Inflation linked Income to cover the cost.
    The Likely result of this will be a massive property crash as landlords will be forced to sale property that has become a financial burden.

  • If Corbyn want to ensure that every home is fit for habitation then he should start with the houses the local council own/control, as it seems to me, from comments some of my LHA tenants have made, that the standard of council houses are generally quite low – and that private LLs would be penalised for having such substandard properties.

  • Rent controls, alongside a nationwide programme of social housing building, will ensure that the housing market is fit and fair for tenants, rather than being a way for landlords to make big profits of the backs of tenants and the welfare state.

  • When we talk of rent controls, we need to define. In Germany etc, rent controls are somewhat theoretical because a landlord is free to set a market rent but is only controlled by how much rents can go up during the tenancy. Not a big deal really. But I suspect Corbyn et al are keen on something much more hard core i.e absolute rent caps. If so, even the CEO of Shelter opposes them. She is quoted as saying that Shelter do not support “old fashioned rent-setting which we think could end up harming the very people on low incomes they’re meant to help, if and when landlords sell their properties.”

  • It’s also worth reminding ourselves that Welsh Labour have had rent capping powers since 2006 but have declined to use them. It seems that when socialists really do their research, they tend to shy away:

    Welsh government spokesman in 2013:
    “While the National Assembly does have the power to regulate rent under the Government of Wales Act 2006, the Welsh Government has no plans to bring forward legislation to introduce unilateral rent regulation as we believe it would be a disincentive for investment in the housing market and would lead to issues with supply for Welsh tenants.

    “A shortage of properties would allow landlords to cherry pick their tenants which would be likely to affect low income families on Housing Benefit more severely than those on regular, higher incomes. Capping rents could also encourage landlords to charge the maximum rent possible and therefore could have an adverse affect on affordability.

    I could not put it better myself. Rent controls harm the most vulnerable.

  • I had rent ‘controls’* on my portfolio when I first became a LL; in the short term it didn’t affect my income greatly but in the long term I’m now having to fund major work that in the days of comtrolled rent were minor repairs. The present goverment’s tax changes are again causing me to ‘think twice’ about funding more than the very minimum repairs/replacements/upgrades…
    *”Registered Tenancy” – the rent increase was set once every 2 years by a local authority ‘Rent Officer’, in 25 years only once did they allow a rent increase that matched the rate of inflation.

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