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.
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.
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.”
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.”