London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed that he wants to see rent controls introduced in London.
The news was leaked yesterday by a national newspaper after a letter from Khan to London Labour MP Karen Buck went public.
In the letter Khan says the case for introducing rent controls is overwhelming to create a “strategic approach to rent stabilisation and control”.
This is a U-turn by Khan, who until now has largely ignored calls for rent controls in the capital, saying that Conservative ministers could not be persuaded. Rental policies across the UK are a government issue; Khan has no powers to introduce them in London.
Criticism of Khan has been led by Sian Berry, co-leader of the Green Party in England, who two weeks ago attacked the Mayor during his regular ‘Question Time’ event for having a ‘defeatist’ attitude towards campaigning for rent controls.
“We all know how sky-high rents are a particular problem for Londoners, a leading cause of homelessness and poverty with many, many working people struggling to pay them,” she said.
The Residential Landlords Association says evidence from “all around the world” shows that when rent controls are introduced and prices are decoupled from the value of properties it “hurts both tenants and landlords”.
“It is curious that the Mayor is considering introducing rent controls at a time when rents in London are falling according to official data,” says RLA Policy Director David Smith.
“The Labour Party in Wales has previously rejected rent controls arguing that they reduce incentives to invest in new property when we need more and lead to a reduction in the quality of housing. The same would be the case in London.”