Labour want rent controls. Landlords don't.
Whether or not you think Labour’s latest bright idea is a great one or a terrible one really depends on your circumstances. Imposing caps on rents and guaranteed tenancies might sound like a great idea if you are a tenant, worried about covering your rent, but the same things would sound like a nightmare come true for buy to let landlords.
As part of a commitment on the issue of living standards, Labour’s flagship for next year’s elections, Labour want to force landlords to provide three-year tenancies and limit the amount by which rents can rise annually. Buy-to-let landlords would face tough new requirements if they wanted to terminate a rental contract with two months’ notice.
The cap on rents would be based on average market rents, calculated in conjunction with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
“This is not about rent controls,” a Labour source told the Telegraph (who are naturally in the Bad Idea camp), instead describing it as “ a rule to stop people being ripped off by rogue landlords.”
Many (landlords) fear that the reintroduction of rent controls- which were abolished by Margaret Thatcher in 1988- will damage the property market. But with London already back into double-digit growth, some might say that’s a good thing. Although people can’t agree on whether this is a genius or idiotic idea, it’s certainly a big idea that has got people talking.
The Conservatives described the pledge as an attempt to “introduce Venezuelan-style rent controls” with the party chairman Grant Shapps saying: “Evidence from Britain and around the world conclusively demonstrates that rent controls lead to poorer quality accommodation, fewer homes being rented and ultimately higher rents – hurting those most in need.”
However, Alex Hilton, of the campaign group Generation Rent, said: “Short tenancies and eviction-on-demand give landlords a brutal grip over their tenants’ lives.”
So what do you think? Are you for protecting tenants, or their landlords? Or do tenants have enough rights as it is?