General election 2019: What are rent controls?

Jan 9, 2020

Labour has pledged to bring in rent controls in England if it wins the general election.

It is an idea that has been tried in many cities worldwide, but what is rent control and how does it work?

What are rent controls?

There are a number of different ways to control rent.

They can include setting a cap on the amount landlords can charge, or even freezing rents.

Rent increases once a new tenancy is agreed could also be limited, and it could be made easier for people to stay on in a property.

Rent controls can vary hugely in how they are implemented.

For example, officials might choose to cap rent prices at the current market rate, or to set a lower limit if prices are high.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is calling for rent increases to be capped at the national inflation rate. He says areas with high rents would be able to make the case for more controls.

The Conservatives have promised to ban Section 21 notices, which allow landlords to evict tenants without a reason after their fixed-term tenancy ends.

Why do people want rent controls?

The cost of renting a property has been increasing in the UK, but wages have been struggling to keep up.

In London, average monthly private rents increased by 35% from £1,095 in 2011 to £1,473 in 2018. Many young people in the capital are spending more than half of their income on rent, a study by PwC suggested.

Young people have been particularly affected across the country, because 25 to 34-year-olds make up the largest proportion of the rental market.

There is concern that young adults are being priced out of areas where they want to work, and are unable to save enough for a deposit towards their first property.

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