One of the country’s leading bodies representing landlords in the private rented sector has today called on Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone to do more to stimulate the supply of private rented housing across London.
As Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London today called for a system of effective rent controls, the RLA Chairman, Alan Ward responded:
“Ken Livingstone’s call for rent controls is an old idea which never worked in the past – until 1988 rent controls resulted in a shortage of supply and poorer conditions for tenants. Hardly a remedy for 2012. There is no doubt that rents in the capital remain far higher than anywhere else in the country but the answer lies in improved supply.
“With many, particularly young, people relying on the sector to provide housing to meet their needs, the RLA is calling on both Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone to support efforts to reform the taxation system to stimulate growth in the sector.
“Standards in the sector are best upheld when tenants have genuine choices about their housing options. Until we see a boost in supply, those choices simply do not exist.”
Commenting on Mayor Boris Johnson’s plans for a pan-London accreditation scheme for landlords, Alan Ward continued:
“With over 10,000 landlords in London already members of the London boroughs’ accreditation scheme, it would seem a waste of time and money re-inventing the wheel in this way.
“The Mayor should focus on supporting and encouraging existing accreditation schemes, freeing his office up better to target the minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute.
“This should be matched by a programme of serious tenant education, providing tenants with all the information needed to better hold their landlords to account for the service they provide. It beggars belief that some people spend more time assessing the state of a car they wish to by then the homes they seek to rent.”
The RLA also has concerns that plans by the Mayor to pay housing benefits direct to landlords who are a member of the London-wide accreditation scheme fail to provide tenants with the opportunity to make a decision based on what is best for them. This could lead to landlords joining accreditation schemes for the money rather than to maintain and improve standards.