A Labour think tank considered to be more centrist than the rest of the party has said that it agrees with the idea of rent controls, but that they must be fair to both tenants and landlords. The report states that ‘sensible’ rent controls will allow tenants to feel more secure whilst not penalising good landlords.
The Fabian Society, in partnership with housing charity Shelter claims that there is strong support for rent controls among tenants, but notes that they do not want to see a situation in which landlords are forced to sell up due to lack of profitability.
On tenants views, the report states:
“They prioritise having fair and transparent rules for the level of rent; a chance for greater security in their home; and a system that is fair for both tenants and landlords” and they ”want a rent control policy that goes far enough to make a noticeable difference, but are concerned by unintended consequences such as any proposals causing landlords to sell up.”
The Fabian society has urged a more pragmatic than ideological stance on rent controls, with Deputy General Secretary Olivia Bailey saying:
“Well designed rent controls can tackle rising costs and falling standards in the private rented sector. But politicians must base their plans on the views of renters themselves.
“Tenants want rent controls to enhance their security and make the system fairer. They want help with soaring costs but are worried about slashing rents which could risk landlords selling up.
“A policy that offers fairness, security and stable rents will command support at the ballot box and give millions of people the comfort and security of an affordable, decent home.”
Whilst there are concerns that any form of rent control would price some landlords out of the market, it could be argued that this is the point of such schemes. Combined with the tenant fees ban and tax changes, it would appear that the private rental sector is being streamlined.
Those landlords that feel the pinch the most would leave the market, in line with free market economic principles, leaving only the most financially stable and responsible landlords, along with social housing schemes to fill the gap.
Greg Beales, a spokesperson from Shelter adds that “Any scheme must sit alongside a clear government commitment to build the three million social homes this country needs, to solve the housing emergency once and for all.”