Sadiq Khan renews call for private rent controls in London
Mayor wants power to freeze rents for two years and save tenants an average £3,000 amid cost of living crisis.
Sadiq Khan says the average private rent for a one-bedroom home in London is more than that for a three-bed home in every other region of England. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA
Sadiq Khan has called on ministers to grant him powers to freeze private rents in London, amid a push by Labour over cost of living issues which also saw the party reiterate its call for the scrapping of the planned increase in national insurance contributions.
The mayor has previously called on the government to allow him to put in place rent controls in London as a way to ease fast-rising costs, but has been rebuffed by ministers.
Khan wants to freeze private rents for two years, saying this would save tenants an average of £3,000 during a period when other costs, notably for energy, are rising rapidly.
An analysis produced by City Hall, based on estimates from the estate agent Savills, estimated that a rent freeze would halt increases that would average £881 in the first year and just over £2,100 in the second year.
Ahead of his push to control some rents, made in 2019 before he sought re-election, Khan argued that such powers, which exist in cities such as Berlin and New York, were needed given the average private rent for a one-bedroom home in London was more than that for a three-bed home in every other region of England. The proportion of Londoners renting privately has more than doubled since 1990.
Khan said: “Private renters make up nearly a third of everyone living in the capital and they are set to be hit by a devastating combination of price and bill rises. Too often the needs of private renters are ignored by both landlords and the government.
“Rising fuel and energy costs, which will hit renters in energy-inefficient homes the hardest, are already causing anxiety and stress, with a big rise in the energy price cap due next month.”
A rent freeze would, he argued, “give people a chance to get back on their feet after the pandemic”.
Separately, Labour used its opposition day debate in the Commons on Tuesday to urge Conservative MPs to drop the national insurance rise in April on the basis of the cost of living crisis.
A number of senior Tories have expressed public opposition to the rise, including the former cabinet minister David Frost and the Treasury select committee chair Mel Stride. Labour said it wanted to kickstart a renewed debate on the issue, although it ultimately declined to put the motion to a vote.
Labour sources said it had been designed as the first move to renew pressure on the government as the spring spending statement approaches and with new fears about the costs of living because of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2022/mar/09/sadiq-khan-renews-call-for-private-rent-controls-in-london?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other