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Why are some Labour politicians still arguing for Rent Controls?

A Labour politician has returned to the subject of rent controls - even though the party has officially abandoned this as a policy.

London Assembly Labour housing spokesperson Sem Moema says: “Housing is the biggest challenge facing Londoners – with many struggling with sky-high rent and spiralling mortgage payments. These costs are holding back our city – with more than a third of Londoners raiding their savings just to get by.

“While the Mayor has met his target of 116,000 homes through his Affordable Homes Programme, we know that urgent action must be taken to make sure that Londoners are not priced out of their own city.


“The government has failed in its promise to ban section 21 evictions, which can push up rents, they've failed to fund affordable housebuilding in our city and just yesterday the Levelling Up Secretary had the audacity to criticise London's housebuilding record.

"Londoners are literally paying the price for the Government's inaction. It's time for Ministers to come to the table, including considering the Mayor’s call to have the powers to control rents, so that Londoners aren't pushed into poverty by housing costs."

London Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan has repeatedly called for government to give him the powers to exercise rent controls over the capital’s private sector.

However, Moema and Khan appear to be going against their own party’s official policy, which has for some time been to oppose rent controls.

In June the then-shadow Housing Secretary - Lisa Nandy - took the party on a U-turn. Whereas in autumn 2022 she told her party conference that she was 

exploring proposals to hand metro mayors and council leaders powers to freeze rents, saying ‘doing nothing was not an option’, by June 2023 she changed her mind.

She told the Housing 23 event that rent controls would be “little more than a sticking plaster” and added: "When housebuilding is falling off a cliff and buy to let landlords are leaving the market, rent controls that cut rents for some, will almost certainly leave others homeless. It might be politically easier to put a sticking plaster on our deep-seated problems, but if it is cowardice that got us here, it is never going to get us out."

Her successor as Shadow Housing Secretary - Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner - has not commented publicly on the rent controls issue, with the party saying that rent controls are not official policy.

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  • George Dawes

    Because it’s an obvious easy target and most of them aren’t very bright

    Even though they’ve been proven countless times rent controls don’t work

    Then again neither do politicians brains by the look of it

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    Because they think its a vote winner!

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    Khan had a target to build only 116,000 homes in London and seems proud to meet that. The target needs to be at least double that. He wants to power to exercise rent controls. He clearly does not listen and do not understand or see clearly what the housing situation is in London. The returns for landlords are like 3 to 4% gross. There are ongoing expenses for meeting legislation and maintenance costs, forget meeting the finance costs or taxes. Khan cannot understand that the returns for landlords are better in north England and not London. Why would any new landlords wish to buy properties to rent out is the question? His foggy mind cannot understand the simple economics. London has the most jobs. People are attracted to come from overseas for work, education, tourism etc to London. However, the mayor is totally clueless of the way housing works. He needs to understand the simple algorithm of huge demand for housing compared to the poor supply of housing. 116k will not cut it at all. PRS leaving and will continue leaving the market and will continue to do so, unless the government makes a u-turn on all the extra tax introduced since 2016. LL's need a tax break to provide affordable housing in London. Mayor needs to do his job effectively, including educating the tenants to pay their rent on time and behave in a tenant like manner without the anti social behaviour. Otherwise the mayor needs to find funding to pay on behalf of the tenants misdeeds. The legislation needs to consider the rights of landlords properties too.

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    An easy question, it’s the same reason why 🐻 Bears 💩 in the woods 🎄….. it’s in their nature 🤷‍♂️. They just cannot help themselves.

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    Passing the ability to freeze rents to local authorities avoids the Government appearing to be the bad boys. Just the good guys for passing the legislation.

  • John  Adams

    Is Diane Abbott still living in her Council Flat?

  • David Saunders

    As sure as night follows day and a Labour government follows a Conservative one, Rent Controls will follow outlawing of Section 21 as per pre its introduction during the 1970/80s and lifetime sitting tenancies will also be able to be passed on to children after death so any property owner naive enough to believe they will ever regain vacant possession of THEIR property will be in for a shock.


    That is a very worrying scenario David.
    I hope to sell the majority of my properties and just keep two that are above commercial premises which I also own and rent out.
    However, it is not easy to dispose of properties where I am at the moment, because prospective buyers are holding out in the hope of achieving a lower price due to the high interest rates and cost of living crisis.

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    Since the 2017 prs legislation came into force in Scotland, we now only rent to students with solvent guarantors who won't stay long term and avoid all family groups who want long term homes.

    One peculiarity of outlawing fixed term tenancies is that, in theory, one joint tenant can decide to stay put for the rest of their lives and their joint tenants are also obliged to continue paying their share of the rent for as long as the joint tenancy continues, which is for ever unless there is unanimous agreement from all joint tenants to end it.

    The latest wheeze of the SNP and their little Green helpers to solve this problem is to allow any joint tenant to leave without the others agreeing but doesn't address how any resultant shortfall in rent is to be addressed. This isn't yet law but it's so loony it's bound to be passed with only the Scottish Conservatives opposing it.

    Watch out for the Scottish housing shortage becoming even worse when no landlord wants to rent to ANY group of tenants other than short term tenants!

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    Vibha, hang on a minute Sadiq Khan didn’t build anything we did. He has us robbed it seems £470.00 approx he takes from for instance from every band ‘D’ properties in C/tax, we have no say in matter & he is a about to increase it by another 8.6%.
    We have congestion Charge £15. pd, that he caused blocking off roads. Silly bits of Bus lanes, duel carriageway bike tracks and not a bike to be seen, ULEZ £12.50 pd, cost me £20k to change my eClass Est for same second hand model a few years newer a much inferior car just a few drops of add blue is going to save Planet with so many bombs going off around the World, probably £6. ph parking charge if you can find anywhere. Never sweep a leaf leave to decay block all the drainage systems and gulley’s.
    Then waste billions re-surfacing the roads that crumbled away due to saturation. 20 mph to stop the water logged road from crumbling away still doesn’t work pot holes everywhere. I wouldn’t be singing his praises at all.


    Sounds like the roads are pretty much in a similar state everywhere in the country.
    Our council imposes around 10% increase in tax every year for an actual reduction in service levels.


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