07 Aug 23
London Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan and activist group Generation Rent have issued a joint appeal for rent controls in the capital.
Khan’s office has now produced a forecast claims that “unchecked private rents in London could soar to upwards of £2,700 pcm next year.”
In a joint statement featuring Khan and Generation Rent’s chief executive Ben Twomey, the Mayor says: “These figures reveal the clearest picture yet of why rent controls are so necessary. Private renters make up nearly a third of everyone living in the capital, but they are being consistently let down by a Government that refuses to listen and take urgent action to protect them from even greater financial hardship.
“Londoners re-elected me on a manifesto pledge to push for the powers to control rents and I will not stop advocating for this lifeline on their behalf. I am delivering on my promise to build a better, fairer and more prosperous London by building more affordable homes in the capital and providing vital support to Londoners through the cost-of-living crisis. It’s about time the Government did the same.”
And Twomey – a former Labour candidate in recent Police Crime and Commissioner elections – adds: “Spiralling rents are driving families into poverty and on to the streets. That is why we support the Mayor’s call for devolved powers to take action to stabilise rents. The average London renter is already putting 40 per cent of their wages straight into their landlord’s pocket, and this situation shows no sign of improving on its own.
“Controlling rents doesn’t address the lack of homes that allows landlords to charge so much on new tenancies. To tackle that we also need a big increase in the supply of social and affordable homes, and the Mayor is right to call for funding to build as much of this as possible in London. Without action, Londoners will continue to face sky-high rents which are forcing the likes of nurses and teachers out of the city and hollowing out our communities.”
The figures from Khan claim that 49 per cent of children in private rented homes live in poverty.
Khan says: “If a two-year rent freeze were to be introduced renters could save £3,374 on average – with £887 saved in the first year alone and £2,487 in the second year.”
He says he wants the government “to deliver the £4.9 billion that is needed each year to build the affordable housing that is so desperately needed, and push for the powers to freeze rents to protect Londoners right now.”
In June Labour’s shadow housing secretary – Lisa Nandy – ruled out rent controls should Labour come to office in the next General Election.
She told a housing conference at the time that rent controls were merely a “sticking plaster” that risked increasing homelessness.
“When housebuilding is falling off a cliff and buy to let landlords are leaving the market, rent controls that cut rents for some, will almost certainly leave others homeless” she told the Housing 2023 gathering of industry professionals.
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