Housing

Sadiq Khan launches 'rent control' strategy to tackle London's rent crisis

The Mayor of London will develop a new blueprint for stabilising or controlling private rents in the capital

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will develop new rent control proposals for the capital to tackle spiraling private rent costs.

Labour MP for Westminster North Karen Buck is to join Deputy Mayor for Housing James Murray to create the blueprint for rent stabilisation or control laws in a bid to tackle the affordability crisis. The Mayor has promised to lobby for the plans to be implemented by Westminster if he is no longer in power by the time of their completion.

Private rents in London rose by 38 per cent between 2005 and 2016, with average prices for a one-bedroom flat now more than the average for a three-bedroom home in other English regions.

The rent control outline will tie in with the Mayor’s proposed tenancy law reforms – ending Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions and solidifying renters’ right to open-ended tenancies.

Khan said: “London is in the middle of a desperate housing crisis that has been generations in the making. At City Hall we are doing everything in our power to tackle it – including building record numbers of new social homes – but I have long been frustrated by my lack of powers to help private renters. The laws for private renters are simply not fit for purpose.

“The arguments for rent control are overwhelming, and Londoners overwhelmingly want it to happen. It’s vital that the government acts to improve the quality of millions of lives, now and in the future.”

The Mayor’s figures show that 68 per cent of Londoners are in favour of rent controls or stabilisation, while only 16 per cent would object to the idea and believe landlords should be able to set their own rent prices.

Buck said: “London’s private renters are amongst the worst affected by the housing crisis in the capital, and the laws to protect them are woefully out of date. We need an approach to rent stabilisation and control that works in London, and I am very pleased to be working with Sadiq’s team to develop a blueprint for what government should do.

“Once we have set out these proposals, we will argue the case that ministers must support London’s private renters by putting our plans into action.”

Hannah Slater, policy manager at campaign group Generation Rent, applauded the Mayor’s commitment to explore rent controls and said Londoners are paying some of the highest rents in the world, while many are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. She also said that unaffordable rent was forcing people to move away from their communities thereby eroding London’s communities.

Slater added: “Renters need stability in our homes that can only come from certainty over what rent we pay – but we need to afford a home in the first place.”

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