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Mayor of London makes rent controls central plank of re-election bid

Sadiq Khan says he wants to be given greater powers to regulate the capital's private rented housing sector ahead of his 2020 re-election campaign.

Nigel Lewis

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has made rent controls a key plank of his 2020 re-election bid campaign.

Khan says he wants to publish a new ‘blueprint’ for London’s private rental market including new powers to control rents in the capital, which would require new legislation.

London’s private rented sector is expected to grow over the next two years to 2.35 million people or 28% of its population.

Khan says he is frustrated by his lack of powers to regulate the private rented sector. Recent YouGov research commissioned by City Hall suggests that more than two thirds of private tenants in London are in favour of rent controls.

To achieve his aims Khan, who is working alongside housing activist and Labour MP Karen Buck (left) on his plans, will have to persuade a sceptical Conservative government.

Last year Secretary of State for Housing James Brokenshire said: “Rent controls never work – they destroy investment in housing, leading to fewer homes to rent and poorer-quality accommodation.”

John Stewart, Policy Manager at the Residential Landlords’ Association, says: “It is curious that the Mayor is considering introducing rent controls at a time when rents in London are falling in real terms according to official data.

“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 government’s own data shows that rents are rising in London slower than inflation; by 0.2% year-on-year during December compared to inflation of 2.7%.


January 24, 2019

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