Campaigns Housing Supply and Rents

Sadiq Khan’s rent control plans would be a disaster for aspiring tenants

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Rent controls in London would be a disaster for aspiring tenants say landlords.

The warning is being made by the RLA and NLA as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, puts calls to introduce them at the heart of his re-election bid.

His proposals come despite experts warning of the danger rent controls would cause at a time when the demand for private rented homes in the capital is outstripping supply.  

Expert opinion

Research by Knight Frank has shown that last year in the capital there were 6.1 prospective tenants for every rental listing, up from 4.7 in 2018.

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.

‘Disaster’

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.”

Dramatic consequences

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.

She said: “The Mayor’s proposals as I understand them are not simply to cap rents at existing levels, or to regulate rises of rents within leases, but to reduce rents from their current levels. 

“I’ve done several studies of international rent regulation and I’ve never seen that policy anywhere. 

“That would be a level of regulation unseen in any developed country I think and would have really dramatic unintended consequences. 

“Landlords would simply decide they were no longer going to rent their properties.”

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

1 Comment

  • One has to marvel the awesome lack of intelligence displayed by those who support rent controls, which have had negative to dire consequences wherever they have been inflicted.

    One consequence is that less-desirable prospective tenants will lose out – hardly helpful and, bizarrely, it will help those tenants and prospective tenants who are better-off. I have a suspicion that that i snot what vote-hungry Khan is intending…

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