18 Feb 2021
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is to keep a call for rent controls in the capital as a major plank of his next election manifesto.
The poll for London Mayor is in May – a year later than scheduled because of Coronavirus – but it is already known that Labour candidate Khan will fight for the power to control private rents.
A source described as being “close to the Mayor” has told London newspaper City AM that the rent control policy will not be the centrepiece of the manifesto but that it would still feature prominently. Currently, the Mayor has no powers over private rents; however some 2.4m Londoners are in the sector.
A year ago – before the 2020 election was postponed – Khan said: “The case for rent controls is now absolutely undeniable. But Tory ministers have blocked us from introducing our plans for rent controls in London and have simply said no.
“That’s why I am making the mayoral election … a referendum on rent controls – showing Londoners that I will stand up for renters.
“The prime minister will have to give us the powers we need, because if he refuses to do so he will be denying the express democratic will of millions of Londoners. And as we have all heard Boris Johnson repeatedly say himself, the democratic will of the people must be respected and it is not for politicians to frustrate it.”
In 2019 Professor Kath Scanlon, a housing expert at the London School of Economics, warned that the Mayor’s rent control proposals would result in landlords simply deciding that they were no longer going to let their properties.