Some 60% of London landlords would reduce the size of their property portfolios in the event of a rent freeze.
This is one of the key findings from a report commissioned by the London Assembly Housing Committee, carried out by Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research (CCHPR).
The research was carried out among almost 200 landlords – the majority of whom are amateurs with few properties – and commercial build to rent landlords and investors.
CCHPR put forward six potential scenarios of rent stabilisation, from a one-off rent freeze for three years, through to linking rent rises to wage rises.
The study found that the majority of landlords would 'continue as they are' if rents could only be increased in line with inflation, although 40% of participants stated that they would sell some or all of their properties if this measure was introduced.
What's more, the report claims that on the whole landlords taking part are not keen to offer longer tenancies but 52% said they would be more inclined to do so if tax incentives were available for doing so.
“Much has been said from all sides about rent controls – but the debate has been sorely lacking in facts, so it's incredibly useful to have these set out in this report,” says Tom Copley, chair of the London Assembly Housing Committee.
“The choice is not simply between regulating rents and not regulating rents. There is no "one size fits all" system of rent control, with many cities around the world adopting different models. Each system has upsides and downsides. Our report seeks to find out what could work in London.”
“We need solutions that work for the millions of Londoners – especially families – in the rental sector. For families, the prospect of having to up sticks with very little notice often means disruption to many aspects of their lives, including schooling and employment,” he adds.
David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association says it is clear that the country will need more homes to rent, if it is to address the housing crisis.
“This report reminds us of the dangers of rent controls which would in fact reduce supply, thereby increasing rents. Rent controls would also severely reduce standards in rented housing as investment dries up," he says.
“It would take us back to the bad old days of Rachman landlords which we must prevent for the good of tenants.”
The report will be discussed today by numerous interested parties including Alan Benson, senior manager of housing strategy at the Greater London Authority, John Bibby, policy officer at Shelter and Anna Clarke, one of the authors of the report and senior research associate at CCHPR.