Rent control disaster for capital’s housing supply

Written by RLA

The Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) is today warning that rent controls proposed by the London Assembly would cause untold damage to the housing market, with tenants losing out…

The Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) is today warning that rent controls proposed by the London Assembly would cause untold damage to the housing market, with tenants losing out.

Publishing its report on the private rented sector (PRS) today, the London Assembly’s Housing and Regeneration Committee has called on the Mayor to bring forward an effective mechanism to stabilise rent, which, would essentially be rent controls.

According to the RLA this would do considerable damage to the housing market in the Capital causing the supply of rental properties to dry up just at the time when tenants are crying out for more choice over where they live. Rent controls which applied up until 1989 shrank the private rented sector. They also adversely impacted on stock condition resulting in poorly maintained and un-modernised properties

In his report for the Government on private rented housing last year, Sir Adrian Montague noted that “investors have made it clear that their current interest in the sector would easily be undermined by proposals for rent controls or enhanced restrictions on gaining vacant possession.”

Rent controls have also been dismissed by all three of the main national parties, and in America substantial evidence exists showing that where rent controls have been in place, the quality and quantity of rented homes has deteriorated.

Commenting on the proposal, Alan Ward, Chairman of the RLA, said:

“It is a pity that the Assembly’s Housing and Regeneration Committee has called for a retrograde step that would cause untold damage to tenants in London. Tenants will be the losers.

“All the evidence clearly shows that rent controls would take us back to the past, drying up the supply of much needed new rented homes. It is little wonder that nationally all three of the main parties have distanced themselves from such a move. Have the lessons of history been forgotten already? When we had rent controls we saw how the sector was damaged and how hard it was to find a property to rent”

Ward continued:

“For rents to be kept in check requires a massive expansion of private rented housing in London, giving tenants genuine choices over their housing options and driving rents down through much greater competition. This requires reforms to the planning system to make it easier for landlords to develop on unused plots of public sector land as well as a taxation system that recognises renting a home as a business activity to encourage investment.

“It is disappointing that this report makes no recommendations on how to boost the supply of rented housing, opting instead to support outdated calls for yet more burdensome regulations.”





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The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

1 Comment

  • To the London Assembly and others who may think that the rents I charge in London NW3 are excessive, let me give just one of my recent experiences:-
    To refurbish a bedsit with kitchenette up to the new regulations:-
    3 months without rent while it was insulated, windows double glazed; new electric heating system put in to replace inefficient gas boiler; large new wardrobe and under-eaves cupboard; floor soundproofed and then fitted with sea grass matting to prevent sound disturbance to flat below; New kitchen installed with new units, floor, efficient small combination oven/microwave to save electric costs,ceramic hob to appeal to new tenants;.new TV aerial fitted; etc etc
    The total cost was £9,000 + £2,600 loss of rent. I had to let it quickly ( to a nanny and her handyman boyfriend with a poor credit rating) as I needed to get back some money. How much rent would the London Assembly allow me? What do they know about a landlord’s expenses?

    In another flat the tenants ruined a nearly new gas boiler ; got a dodgy plumber from yellow pages to get it replaced at £2000 without my permission and were indignant when I did not renew their tenancy.

    How many landlords will choose this way of making a living?
    Landlord of 20 years standing.

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