LABOUR has today revealed plans to extend its leftie rent controls project to the rest of the country.
If Jeremy Corbyn wins the December 12 election then he will bring in a raft of radical new measures, which will cap rent increases at the rate of inflation.
Landlords will also face an annual “property MOT” – and they will be fined if they let out sub-standard property.
Labour’s shadow housing secretary, John Healey, said today: “Labour will legislate in year one for a new charter of renters’ rights, with open-ended tenancies, new minimum standards and rent controls to make renting more affordable.”
But would the policies work, and would it really bring down rents?
Labour’s main plans would be to cap the cost of increases to rent at the rate of inflation – this wouldn’t bring rents down but would stop them increasing at huge rates.
If rents are sky-high in certain areas then councils can get extra powers to tackle them too, Labour says.
This would include beefed up enforcement powers for councils, and renters unions would be given government funding.
In some other countries rent controls have been helpful where rents are rising fast, but in other places it’s led to a shortage of supply.
But the Tories said that it would hurt the renters they claim to want to help by hiking up rents.
A Conservative Party spokesperson, said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s plans have been widely condemned by housing experts and will hurt the renters they claim to want to help by hiking up rents.”
They argue that Labour’s crackdown on landlords would reduce the amount of rental homes, and prices would go up as a result as there would be fewer in the market.
As revealed by The Sun earlier this year, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan admitted that rent controls may not help people get cheaper rents.
GLA officials said: “As you know, we haven’t actually done any impact assessment of how the Mayor’s proposals will improve things.
“For the London Model it’s hard to quantify the benefits as we can’t say how much average tenancy lengths may increase, for example.
“Because we don’t have an actual model, we can’t really show what the Mayor’s proposals would do to rents.”
A study from Stanford University looked at rent controls back in 1994.
The city put them in place back in 1979, and researchers round they had benefited from lower rents.
But they found that those who came to the city later on were forced to pay more because of a shortage of available housing.
Research for the London Assembly back in 2015 found that minor rent controls such as a three-year freeze would not make much difference to affordability.
Independent experts have also cast doubt on whether rent controls would work for Britain.
Shelter’s CEO Polly Neate said: “Old fashioned rent-setting could end up harming the very people on low incomes they’re meant to help, if and when landlords sell their properties.”
And Dr Gemma Burgess, Director of Cambridge University’s Centre for Planning and Housing said; “I’m very dubious that rent control could help tenants and not reduce the stock of rental properties.”
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