The main landlords’ trade body has hit out at a bid by London Mayor Sadiq Khan to secure powers to impose private sector rent controls.
At the moment the Mayor's post does not have control over rents levied by private landlords; Khan wants to change that.
An analysis by the National Residential Landlords Association shows that private rents have fallen every year in real terms throughout Khan’s period of office and are now nearly 10 per cent lower than five years ago when compared to the Retail Price Index.
The NRLA says figures from the Office for National Statistics show that rents in the capital have fallen by 9.6 per cent between April 2016 (the month before Khan first came to office) and February 2021.
Even compared to the Consumer Price Index - including housing costs, which the government has said it plans to start using - rents fell by 5.1 per cent over the same period.
The NRLA is warning that any move to control rent rises by linking them to inflation would leave tenants worse off.
In his manifesto for re-election as Mayor, Sadiq Khan calls for the power to introduce rent controls in London. This is despite a report published by HM Treasury in 2010 under the last Labour government - in which Khan was a minister - that warned of the devastating impact such a policy would have on inner city housing.
Assessing the impact of rent controls before they were abolished in 1988, the report concluded that they had been a major factor in the “decay of much of the inner city housing stock.”
NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says: “Rent controls would be a disaster for London as the last Labour government made crystal clear. They would mean tenants actually paying higher rents than leaving them to market forces.
“The story of rent controls wherever they have been introduced is that they exacerbate an already serious shortage of available homes.
“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.”
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