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Has Labour’s secret rent control plan been revealed by accident?

Just days after suggesting rent controls of any kind were off the table, it now appears Labour may be considering them after all.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has told BBC local radio that there might be a case for controlling rents in certain local areas, though she emphasised there would not be a “blanket approach”. 

She says local authorities could prevent landlords from raising rents above a set amount each year.

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A similar policy introduced in Scotland by Nicola Sturgeon led to landlords quitting the market, disinvestment in Build To Rent, a reduced rental housing supply and increased rents.

Reeves told BBC Radio Essex: “I think that should be up to local areas to decide. There may be the case for that in some local areas, but as a blanket approach, I’m not convinced by that.”

This latest flip flop on the subject by Labour appears to contradict its rejection of the policy in the recent past - although that was itself a reversal of statements made about two years ago when the party nationally appeared more sympathetic to controls.

Several Labour mayors - notably Sadiq Khan in London, Steve Rotheram in Liverpool and Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester - have suggested that they would be in favour of rent controls.

Reeves’ intervention came just days after the party distanced itself from a call for rent controls in a report commissioned in January 2023 by then-shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy. She was shortly afterwards removed by party leader Sir Kier Starmer but the writing of the report went ahead under the Labour leader of Hammersmith and Fulham council, Stephen Cowan.

He took 15 months to complete the report but when it was launched last week there was no front bencher speaking in its favour - because it supported selective rent controls, which at that time appeared to contradict national party policy.

Just to add to the confusion, after Reeve’s told the BBC that Labour could allow some rent controls, a national party spokesperson issued a statement correcting her.

It said:"As Rachel Reeves said, she does not believe rent controls are the right approach.

"While Labour believes action needs to be taken to address extortionate within tenancy rent rises, rent controls are not national Labour Party policy as we remain mindful of the risk they could pose to the availability of rental properties and the harmful impacts any reduction in supply would have on renters.

"In government, Labour would act where the Conservatives have failed to ensure fairness and security for renters, immediately abolishing Section 21, ending tenant bidding wars and extending Awaab’s law to the private rented sector.”

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  • George Dawes

    I wonder how many of these left wing hypocrites are landlords themselves

    I recall john mc donut was in the news for being anti second home , then it was revealed he had far more than one extra in his personal portfolio

    I could never vote for so called Labour as they’re anything but work related and aim for the lazy workshy demographic , at least the tories are obvious in their money grabbing corruption, labour love to play the moral high ground while being just as bad if not worse

    Politics is desperately in need of a great reset

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    Guido Fawkes 🔥 anyone for the “ reset” 🤔

     
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    Shocked 😮 NOT. We all knew they were lying and with landlord licenses and s21 scrapping coming in…. They will have us trapped 🤷‍♂️

  • Sarah Fox-Moore

    IF youre not selling up, its imperative to get your rents up to the Top of the going Market rate ASAP.

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    You are right Sarah. Rent rises on all my portfolio soon. In the past I have been relaxed about rent increases with good long term tenants. Sadly this will have to change. Labour think they can hide behind Councils. Some will be much worse than others. Take Bristol for example now run by the Green Party. They won’t allow any increases. They won’t care about the consequences of a collapsed rental sector.

     
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    Don't forget Reeves can easily remove the 'tax perk' i.e 20% Tax credit at her next ' emergency cost of renting' budget. So great advice S F-M. So max out your rent NOW

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    If "bidding wars" are widespread, this is essentially testing the market, just like you can bid against other would-be buyers for a house purchase. Are they going to ban this as well? If this is outlawed, then obviously landlords will simply pitch the advertised rent at the maximum achievable value and allow it to be negotiated down if it proves to be too high. Overall result = rents going up more than before, like with rent controls in Scotland!

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    They’ll just say what gets votes or the right folk on their side. Labour are users . Then they’ll switch when it suits to another policy/ idea and start again.

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    The threat of rent controls is already pushing rents up as LLs prepare themselves for a Labour Govt.

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    What if they go “Nuclear ☢️ “ and put in an evictions ban like the SNP 🥵🫣. I am starting to feel like a fox 🦊 being hunted.

     
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    Will they, for fairness, limit mortgage rises? 😇

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    • A S
    • 20 May 2024 09:51 AM

    You would have thought there's a gap in the market for a lender to come up with some innovation such as a 5 year mortgage (2 year fixed rate at X%, followed by a further 3 years at X + 1%) or something similar. It would give landlords longer term peace of mind and the lender could reserve the funds for the whole period at the lower rate, thereby making more margin on the extended period. Do it over 10 years+ for even more peace of mind. The market is dysfunctional as it is currently, it should work for lenders and borrowers equally but it is skewed inordinately towards lenders at the moment

     
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    While Labour believes action needs to be taken to address extortionate within tenancy rent rises, rent controls are not national Labour Party policy as we remain mindful of the risk they could pose to the availability of rental properties and the harmful impacts any reduction in supply would have on renters.

    ‘In tenancy rent controls’! So, there’s no doubt Labour is going for very wide spread rent control.
    Rent controls and ‘availability of supply’ are inextricably related, at least they appear to have worked that out! So, their policy is clearly contradictory.

    Any form of Rent Control is destined to reduce market supply and ‘extortionate’ rent rises are the consequences of a decade of Gov mismanagement of the PRS.

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