Introduce rent controls
Controls will create a fairer, more affordable private rented sector in London, and provide a model for other cities.
The scale of the housing affordability crisis in London means a set of policies including rent controls are becoming increasingly necessary to create a capital with a more affordable private rented sector. Rents for every home in the private rented sector in London should be reduced to a desired rent level and then controlled by a ‘Private Rent Index’, which would cap annual rent increases. The index should take into account wage growth, house prices, wider consumer inflation and borrowing costs.
There are six key building blocks for establishing a system of rent control in London:
- A landlord and rents database: An open-access record of all landlords, their properties, and associated rents.
- A property-linked rent control: to control rents between and within tenancies.
- A Desired Rent Level: to reduce rents for individual privately rented properties over a specified time period. Aiming for a third of median local incomes would make rents genuinely affordable.
- A Private Rent Index: to govern annual rent changes on privately rented properties, once the Desired Rent Level has been reached.
- An independent administrative body: to design the rent control system, and subsequently administer the system, collect and hold the data required, and set the Desired Rent Level and the Private Rent Index.
- A system of enforcement mechanisms: to put the onus on landlords and the state to enforce the system, rather than tenants.
This should be accompanied by the introduction of indefinite tenancies, and an end to DSS discrimination against benefit claimants and Right to Rent immigration checks.
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