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 Labour calls for rent freeze now and rent controls long term

Labour’s London Mayor - buoyed up after the party’s successes in the capital in last week’s elections - has renewed his call for rent controls generally and for him to be given the power to impose private sector rent controls. 

Sadiq Khan makes his plea in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, following Labour taking control of previous Conservative strongholds Westminster and Wandsworth in the May 5 local elections.

He says the rent freeze and additional powers should be announced in today’s Queen’s Speech, which is expected to include a pledge to abolish landlords’ Section 21 eviction powers. 


Mayor Khan writes: 

“I am writing ahead of the Queen’s speech to urge you to take immediate action to ease the cost of living crisis for 2.4 million Londoners by devolving the powers to me to introduce rent control in London.

“If we do not act urgently to protect renters, spiralling rents could soon translate into a devastating homelessness crisis.

“The latest statistics on rents are stark. According to Rightmove, average asking rents in London in Q1 of 2022 hit a new record of £2,193 pcm which is a 14.3 per cent rise from the same time last year. This is the biggest annual jump of any region since records began.

“The Homelet rental index for March 2022 shows that renters in London are now spending 34.6 per cent of their income on rent. This coincides with an energy price increase of almost £700, with further increases to come, and the rapid inflation in the cost of everyday essentials.

“I have repeatedly asked for the powers to design and implement a system of rent control for London which would help to reduce the financial pressure on renters, without choking off supply. The Queen’s speech is an opportunity to commit to this, but such a system will take time to introduce.

“In the meantime, I urge you to implement a two-year rent freeze to relieve the pressure on already-stretched renters. 


“Figures published by City Hall in March suggest this would save struggling Londoners almost £3,000 on average. Your recent Levelling Up white paper extends the offer of further devolution to cities like London, which I warmly welcome. I am asking for new powers to support private renters, including by raising standards in the rental market through property licensing.

“I also welcome the government’s commitment to ending section 21, introducing open-ended tenancies and creating a public national landlord register. I look forward to seeing more detail in the forthcoming Renters Reform white paper.

“However, affordability is clearly the most urgent issue facing the majority of renters, and currently the government remains silent on this issue. I am asking you to take the action necessary to prevent a major crisis now and to work with me to build a better London for everyone.

“Together we can protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society from the worst that is yet to come.”

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    • 10 May 2022 06:31 AM

    That useless and incompetent weapons grade bellend harassing landlords again. If it's not landlords, it's motorists. That filthy cockcroach should tackle knife crime instead.


    But isn't knife crime just part of life in a big city? Much like he said terrorism was?

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    Yet again the incompetence of government passing the buck to landlords. When you’re told how you manage your property and how much you can charge for your property the question has to be who’s property is it? Might have your name on it but in this climate it may as well belong to the state.

  • George Dawes

    Levelling up ? More like bringing everything down

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    Khan is so deluded, he thinks that freezing rents and introducing a licensing scheme will not “choke off supply”. Freezing rents at the moment, equates to an annual 10% cut in rents. In London, many landlords are operating at break even or even a slight loss. This idiot is going to ensure there are no rental properties left in London.

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    Sounds like a communist approach. Here’s a few ideas that are not so communistic!
    1.Stop selling council houses,
    2. Buy back the council properties that the Gov have been selling since the 1980s.
    3. Actually fix the planning system, make it quicker, cheaper and simpler to obtain permission and remove CIL and other ridiculous charges so more developers can actually afford to build affordable housing.
    4.Prioritise housing for British citizens.
    5. Get the Queen to surrender some of her land and build new affordable housing.
    6. Run your stupid idea as a test study on the property stock of ALL politicians first and let’s see how they get on paying mortgages on their properties with rent caps in place and interest rates going up.


    Stop reading the mainstream news and look at the actual data. Less than 8% of all council properties ever built have ended up in the private rental sector.

    The average private sector tenant stays in a property for 4.1 years. For council tenants it's more than double at 8.6 years and as the age demographic goes up, so does the tenure. The average council tenant in their 70's has been in their property for almost 20 years, many over 40 and 50 years, so precisely what difference does it make to waiting lists if a property is owned or tenanted? The property is unavailable, so it makes next to zero difference. We need more AVAILABLE properties.

    Councils have first right of refusal on any properties sold for the first 10 years after they are sold. They can literally veto any private sale during this period. What do they do? Make no proactive attempt whatsoever to buy them back. Of the ones offered to them, they then waste millions trying to buy them back at below market value through a deliberately manipulated system, antagonising sellers, causing sales to fall through, and ensuring that the properties stay in the PRS.

    You, like every other mouthpiece on this subject, clearly have no knowledge of it.

    As for the rest of your comments... 'The Queen's' land (which isn't actually the Queen's and is of no practical use to her or anyone else) isn't needed, there is more than enough private land available. If you bothered to do the extremely easy task of cross referencing the data you'd know this, but of course, that wouldn't confirm your pre-concieved biases now would it?

    As for 'affordable', well that's a subjective term. If you mean home ownership should be affordable to everyone that wants it, then it is now. It's economically impossible for it not to be. If you mean that it should be easy, or that home ownership of specifically desired properties should be affordable to everyone, then that's not something that has ever existed, or will ever exist.

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    Her Majesty should use her speech opportunity to remove Mr Khan.
    How many millions of our C/tax in he talking, even on each of mine he’s getting hundreds pa.
    As previously said its not a Rent freeze but a Rent cut just like each Regulation is a cost / a cut not least licensing Schemes (£10k + this year for me licensing renewals) and we are expected to absorb all costs. A Rent Freeze should mean Rents don’t go up or down so should be indexed linked to inflation to be a Freeze otherwise a it’s big cut.
    Some of my Rents haven’t gone up in years (one in particular is 20 yrs) which means I have had massive cuts already + ever increasing costs and the propaganda media machine wants to tell me I had a huge increase this year alone.

  • girish mehta

    He better find millions to build more house to house homeless. Council tax will be going up to fund these clueless looney politicians.

  • John Ahmed

    More incompetence from government telling landlords how manage property. This will have the effect of less property available to rent.
    I've seen nothing but stupidly from them all recently with very few good ideas at all.

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    We all know what is about to happen to the PRS, and I intend to be on the right side of the curve….. selling ! All the best to my soon to be ex tenants.


    Selling, particularly if you're 50 or younger, will be very much the wrong side of the curve. They want private landlords out for a reason, and the ones who stay in, adjust, and fight through the s***storm are going to reap the rewards of being in a sector that will be all but inaccessible to the average person in 20 years.

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    So if Government wants is spend billions building more Council houses, how many more billions to keep them in those houses in which case why should anyone be daft enough saddled with Mortgage’s.

  • Mark Wilson

    You really think this can be stopped?


    How's the energy price cap working out for all those who advocate Government interference with Market forces?

    Its "success", coupled with the "success" of other interferences in minimum wage rates, banning unauthorised overdraft fees, the Northern Ireland protocol etc. etc. shows that the PRS has no more to fear from Government interference than other areas where market forces prevail.

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    In any article linked to the Government, I see lots of comments about 'stupid' politicians and incompetence, which i find rather naive. A friend of a friend connected to some extremely dodgy and influential London 'faces', once told me that the most successful at his game, were those that knew the police weren't stupid and acted accordingly.

    I think that can certianly be mirrored in the property industry.

    At local authority and 'middle manager bureaucrat' levels, I'm sure that you can find a lot of stupidity, and a lot of incompetence, carried out by those who buy into public sector dogma, jobsworth power trippers, and non thinking simpletons protecting their cushy jobs.

    These are the useful idiots, and they are guided in both thought and action by those at the top.

    It is only the incredibly naive and ignorant who think that those at the top are stupid, or incompetent. They aren't. They have an agenda to implement (which generally means ensuring and furthering the social hierarchy), and a narrative to create so they can ensure that it gets done without too many kicking up a fuss, and they are EXTREMELY good at doing it. You can either carry on thinking they are stupid, or you can start looking deeper into what they are doing and why, and act accordingly.

  • Rik Landlord

    Rent caps with impending EPC upgrade costs? What do they thing private landlords are some kind of housing charity?


    Rent caps mean EPC upgrades will not be done

    George Dawes

    All designed to squeeze us out …

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    Mark, not currently when we have a Conservative Government that done us more damage than labour possibly could ever have got away with.
    It won’t take long to stall the housing market and collapse the economy, then they’ll be glad to reverse those Policies and the free living rollercoaster will be over.

  • David Saunders

    Bring it on and our politicians of all parties that are calling for it will reap what they have sown when private lets become as rare as rocking horse droppings, homeless figures spiralling and rents going into orbit.

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    This needs a careful approach. Political realities and social circumstances can overwhelm or direct public policy. Khan's rent freeze could just be an ambit claim. Alternatively, rent controls or rent social agreements are more realistic within which all interest groups should have their interests accommodated.

    I rent two flats - Elephant and Castle and Upton Park, and am quite happy with the level my agents have negotiated because I have low gearing. This may not apply to those with high gearing.


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