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Rent Control Mayor wants to be MP after post abolished

A Labour Mayor whose post was abolished by a public vote last year now wants to become an MP.

Marvin Rees’ position as Mayor of Bristol was abolished in a referendum vote by some 56,113 people in May 2022; the position officially ends in spring 2024.

Now Rees - one of the country’s most outspoken advocates of rent controls for private landlords - wants to become a Labour MP in the city, posting on Twitter that he has applied to become the party’s parliamentary candidate for the Bristol North East constituency. This is a new constituency created by a boundary review; it will be the fifth seat in Bristol.


Within days of seeking the nomination for the constituency, Rees appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme accusing the city’s private rental market of being the "Wild West" requiring what he called "intervention". 

When asked about rent controls Rees said: "Well, I recognise that there's a complexity, but what we certainly need is intervention in the rental market. And whether you call that control or not is up to you, but there needs to be an intervention because allowing this Wild West of the rental market with rents growing out of pace to people's income.

"So what we have at the moment in Bristol is, over the last decade, rents have gone up about 52 per cent, wages have gone up 24 per cent, so you can see that there is a huge price to be paid for that, not just in the individuals impacted. 

“By the way, a good quality home is one of the most significant public health interventions we can make that would give us resilience against future pandemics, such as Covid. It means we can actually recruit teachers, nurses to Bristol, which we're struggling to."

Rees also expressed sympathy with landlords, adding: “We have to recognise that some landlords just will be very small people who have invested in a property for their pension. That does not make them bad, that just means that whatever has happened to them financially in our pensions system has not supported people so they are driven to a cannibalisation of the housing market. We have to take that into account. It has to be part of a wider approach that means building homes as well.”

Last year Rees appeared more aggressively in favour of rent controls, teaming up with local anti-landlord activists to look at how to introduce rent controls in the city and holding a so-called summit on the issue.

At the time he said: “The national housing crisis poses big challenges for our city and tackling it remains one of the council’s top priorities. As well as accelerating the building of affordable housing across Bristol, we are currently strengthening our powers to tackle rogue landlords, and we have invested £42m in improving the energy efficiency of our council homes.

“I made a manifesto commitment to campaign for the power to introduce rent controls to make Bristol an affordable living city, and we are calling on government to give us the power to regulate rents. Piloting rent control in Bristol will allow us to take a step towards tackling our local renting crisis and will help us develop learnings and that can inform wider positive change for the rest of the city.”

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  • George Dawes

    Anything but get a real job

    Typical public sector parasite

  • icon

    Marvin Rees where have you been we have had interventions look where it got us, you have your answer.
    Removal of Section 21 was a big one and I always believed this had the ability to crash the Housing Market on its own.
    Just add other interventions like licensing Schemes and section 24 and you definitely have sown the seeds for a crash.
    Apart from all this we have had multiple interest rate rises.
    So it’s really going very well, how would you expect any expert to spot this, the clowns.
    Conservatives might be going out but they’ll make sure whoever comes next will have a complete mess on their hands.

  • icon

    Bristol - the city where criminal damage is not a crime. Is that what he means by the wild west in his role of sheriff?

    Many owner occupiers are facing repossession unless they pay treble what they paid in interest before.

    Renters are almost always enjoying real term rent reductions but aren't facing imminent eviction.

    However this guy won't let facts get in the way of a good grievance,!

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    Is this guy for real? Rents gone up 52%.... Nothing to do with you or the other lot increasing tax on landlords, encouraging tenants not to pay or force issues through court?

    Look in the mirror Marvellous Marvin and you may see some of the issues for rent increases staring right back at you.. Wild West, what a complete Jockey!

  • Franklin I

    A lot of emphasis on rent control, but none on regulation, legislation, tax and protection for landlord's.

  • icon

    Council tax up 50% in the last decade, mortgages at 300% in the last 18 months, building costs up to hundred percent in the last decade!! What do you expect?
    That doesn’t even entertain the other costs that have been changed in the last decade section 24, increased taxes, Bristol charges over £1000 per license which landlords didn’t have last decade! Get real!!

  • Sarah Fox-Moore

    What utter drivel!

  • icon

    One wonders why the position of the Mayor in Bristol was abolished. Someone needs to let him know the real facts that the landlord face. He is talking of "they (LL) are driven to a cannibalisation of the housing market.". What an idiot he sounds. HE needs to be educated, that everything, like house insurance, building work, interest rates have gone up not to mention the last decade has been totally crucified by abolition of S24 (more money in the government pockets), other costs for safety and health of tenants have risen), which are totally ignored by social housing. He is one of the cause of increasing number of tenants out of homes.


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