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Rent controls will leave tenants worse off, landlords warn London Mayor

Comments by NRLA come as Sadiq Khan launches his bid for another term in office, including a promise to introduce rent controls.

Nigel Lewis

rent controls

Landlords have called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to drop his plans to introduce rent controls in the capital ahead of next month’s local elections.

Khan has been a supporter of rent controls despite an unsuccessful attempt to introduce them in Edinburgh, and has made them a key plank of his re-election manifesto.

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) says his proposals would make London’s tenants worse off as landlords would then cut investment in their properties as rents reduced.

The NRLA also says a February 2010 HM Treasury report by the then Labour government, in which Khan was a minister, was clear that rent controls did not make sense.

PRS decline

“A key factor behind the decline in the PRS [after 1918] was the introduction of rent controls during the First World War, and these became more extensive over time,” it says.

“Artificially low rents reduced investment in the sector, contributing to a tenure shift to owner-occupation and lower maintenance standards in the stock that remained.”

The NRLA also says rents in London have been in decline for several years, despite claims by Khan to the contrary.

Rents have fallen by 9.6% since he came to office in 2016 and, even when inflation is deducted from this figure, they dropped by 5.1% over the same period.

“The story of rent controls wherever they have been introduced is that they exacerbate an already serious shortage of available homes,” says Ben Beadle, the NRLA’s Chief Executive (left).

“Rather than calling for things he cannot deliver, the Mayor should focus on using the powers he already has to boost the supply of available housing, including for private rent.”

April 9, 2021

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