Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has signalled a government U-turn on rent controls after revealing in an interview with the i newspaper that a Johnson administration would consider limited controls on rent rises.
The comment are clearly intended to appeal to the newspaper’s largely 20-something audience who may have been attracted Labour’s manifesto promise to introduce them across England and Wales.
Jenrick has shifted position significantly since early November when he told a meeting of the Parliamentary housing select committee that as a concept they were ‘dead in the water’.
“I am not in favour of rent controls,” he revealed at the time. “That has proven to be very negative for both landlords and tenants in the past, and I do not want to see any move in that direction.”
But the realities of winning votes appear to have prompted a change of heart.
Jenrick told the i newspaper that: “We don’t believe that old fashioned rent controls are a good idea.
“And that isn’t something that we want to revert to. We want to learn the lessons of the past and produce a fairer deal to tenants that works for the modern housing market.”
Instead the minister has said a future Conservative government would “carefully consider… what contractual commitments can be made that provide greatest certainty to tenants.
“Whether that’s having clear guidance as to the rate at which your rent might rise or the length of your tenancy.” Which sounds like rent controls-lite.