The return of rent control? – Jules Birch


An idea that was supposedly buried a generation ago is rising rapidly up the housing policy agenda, writes Jules Birch.

Last year saw modest proposals by Labour for rent regulation within three-year tenancies in the private rented sector. Now there are calls for something that goes much further.

The conjunction of two news items last Friday put the issue into sharp relief. The first was an opinion poll for the private tenants campaign Generation Rent that asked ‘would you support or oppose proposals for the government to introduce a “rent control” system in the UK’. The result was 59 per cent to support, 6.8 per cent to oppose and 34 per cent with no opinion. Levels of support rose to 77 per cent among private renters, 69 per cent of Labour voters and 64.5 per cent of Londoners. However, rent control also had the support of a majority of Conservatives (55 per cent) and homeowners (56 per cent).

The rest of this article is on Inside Edge,  Jules’s column for Inside Housing.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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6 thoughts on “The return of rent control? – Jules Birch

  1. Jeffery Davies

    Rent control we had before now its talk if bringing em back pity it wasnt explained more
    that greedie landlords need to be kept in check

  2. PM1

    It’s well known among economists rent controls are damaging The general public, however, doesn’t have a understanding of the economic issues associated with rent controls. On the face of it, they do seem like a good idea, but it’s for politicians to communicate to voters the truth about easy solutions like rent controls.

    Second-generation rent controls, of the type Labour are proposing, are less bad, but simply alter the timing of rent increases and not their size.

    A better solution, rather than crude price controls which ultimately have many negative side effects, is to increase the supply of housing.

  3. elizabeth maxwell

    In my day–rent PLUS council tax (or rates ) was the equivalent to one quarter of one’s income—this seemed fair . If the income rises the tenant usually moves on to buy a property. This seemed fair and worked well

  4. Phil The Folk

    The Tories did away with Rent Controls when they were last in power. Originally they were to stop the likes of Rackman demanding “Key Money” from renters. Now letting agents and estate agents are doing exactly the same thing at incredibly high levels… into the thousands of pounds!

  5. Owen Williams

    If Tory MPs and homeowners with rental property portfolios think a rent control system is a GOOD idea, it does make me wonder… This idea proposes capping their rent receipt profits; why would they actively support an idea that causes them to lose money? This is supposed to be about protecting their tenants from their greed – so what’s in it for THEM?

  6. hugosmum70

    well way back in the early -mid 70s, when we had need to use the rent officer he helped us a hell of a lot.we were in private rented property and the landlord suddenly wanted to increase the rent from £13 something per month to £36 a month,a jump we could no more manage than fly at that time ,without a plane… we had been his tenants for 11 years then.landed up agreeing to landlords solicitor’s suggestion that if he could get us a fixed rate mortgage we would buy the property for £5,250 so was left at that…. suffice to say that went ahead… but the rent officer was a tremendous help in negotiating the new rent, (was then to be increased gradually over 3 years) plus advice re buying the property/ personally i think they are a good idea for existing tenants/

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