Regulation and Enforcement

Rent controls will hurt London tenants

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The RLA says any plan to introduce rent controls in London could end up hurting those it is designed to help.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has hinted he wants to bring in rent controls according to a report in The Guardian today, which says he told Labour MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck MP the arguments for capping rent inflation are now becoming “overwhelming”.

It is now understood he will campaign for councils to be given greater powers to control rents.

However the RLA has pointed out rents in the capital are falling – and that all the indicators are that the quality of homes are affected when controls are brought in.

It says the government should instead concentrate on boosting supply.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA said: “It is curious that the Mayor is considering introducing rent controls at a time when rents in London are falling according to official data.

“The Labour Party in Wales has previously rejected rent controls arguing that they reduce incentives to invest in new property when we need more and lead to a reduction in the quality of housing. The same would be the case in London.

“All evidence around the world shows that where forms of rent control are in place, decoupling prices from the value of properties hurts both tenants and landlords.

“In the end what is needed is a relentless focus on boosting the supply of housing.”

The most recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows that in the year to October 2018, rents in London fell by 0.2%.  

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.


  • Sometimes, in fact every time I get an email from the RLA, I wonder if this is the RLA publicity email or the Sally Walmsley publicity email. A little less Sally and a bit more about the RLA would be much more appreciated. Jean Davis ex MD communications company

  • Rent Controls will just make it harder for those the Rent Controllers are purporting to seek to help.

    The wealthier tenants with better jobs and higher salaries will be the best off as they will get very nice properties for less. Landlords will suffer as they are forced to subsidise others. Lower level tenants will be left out.

    It’s astonishing that after all this time, politicians still don’t understand the basics:

    The more you meddle, the worse it gets

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