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Tories urged to back rent controls to kick-start a seaside town renaissance

The Conservative party should put rent controls at the heart of their general election manifesto as part of a wider effort to kick-start a seaside town renaissance, according to a major new report.

Dysfunctional housing markets are at the heart of a ‘spiral of decline’ in many coastal communities, the Housing and Finance Institute said.

The new report claims that a ‘toxic trio’ of poor quality housing, an abnormally high proportion of renting and a lack of job creation leave tenants and taxpayers often overpaying for housing which is not worth the rent being charged.

The Housing and Finance Institute wants to see the introduction of new time-limited and localised rent controls in the poorest coastal communities.

It suggests that a locally assessed ‘fair value rent regime’ could be set, reflecting a property's location and quality.

The institute is also calling for greater support from central government for councils which have communities with pockets of local failed housebuilding markets.

It also said a ‘one-stop shop’ should be created to make it easier for councils to take action against rogue landlords and drive up housing standards.

It also wants greater financial and skills support from central government for deprivation hotspots that have become ‘housebuilding not-spots’ – places where housebuilders, developers and financiers do not want to build and invest.

Natalie Elphicke, chief executive of The Housing & Finance Institute, said: “There is a toxic trio of abnormally high proportions of rented housing, for that rented housing to be of poor quality, and a lack of job creation. Dysfunctional housing markets are proving fundamental to the spiral of decline in many of Britain’s coastal communities – and something radical must be done to turn the tide.

“The proposals in this paper can help to break up the concentration of housing poverty and attract new high quality building and investment. Housing can be pivotal to securing jobs, growth and reversing entrenched deprivation.

“In particularly, a new fair rents regime would significantly speed up the renewal of the most deprived areas, drive a fairer deal for tenants and taxpayers – and kick-start much needed regeneration.”

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