Labour want rent controls. Landlords don't.

1 May 2014

pay rentWhether 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?


  • jokester4
    Tenants already have far too many rights - it is virtually impossible to evict tenants even if they haven't been paying or have breached the contract. Yes, they should be protected but so should Landlords.
  • Quiet h.
    It was Thatcher that did the damage in 88, this won't be able to reverse it. It may stabilise the housing market prices though. A long overdue move.
  • imran
    The proposals are little different to those already used in rental of commercial retail/offices/warehousing. Rents based on market value over a period of 3/5/7/10 etc years often with breaks in longterm contracts for rent renegotiations. Just don't see the issue landlords have.
  • AmancalledBOB
    How will this alleviate the housing situation especially for the poorest members of society? Already social housing is falling apart thanks partly due to successive governments letting every Tom, Dick and Harry and their fifteen relatives from anywhere in the world hijack waiting lists so where will those who struggle to find housing now find housing when landlords pull out of the market? More regulation doesn't necessarily imply better standards .
  • jt
    "Where will those who struggle to find housing now find housing when landlords pull out of the market?" Will the houses just disappear?

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