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02nd Apr 2021

Sadiq Khan pledges to introduce rent controls

Sadiq Khan has pledged to introduce rent controls for the capital if he is re-elected as London mayor on 6 May

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt

Sadiq Khan has pledged to introduce rent controls for the capital if he is re-elected as London mayor on 6 May

The Labour mayor says re-election would give him the mandate to implement these changes, and that he will use findings from a 2019 commission on rent controls in the city to develop them.

Khan’s full manifesto is set to be released next week.

He claims that the findings of this commission strike a balance between controlling London’s massive rental prices and limiting any negative side effects on the rental market more broadly.

Some of the proposals included giving renters open-ended tenancies, creating powers to bring rents down, and setting out in detail how tenancy laws should be overhauled.

Proposals also include establishing a new London Private Rent Commission to both implement and enforce measures to control rents and avoid them becoming to high.

Khan claims rent controls are a key part of tackling socio-economic inequality in the capital, inequality he says is at risk of becoming further entrenched in the aftermath of the pandemic.

London is one of the most expensive places to live in the world, with an incredibly high number of private renters at 2.4 million – a number which has been consistently rising over the last decade.

Londoners spend 40 per cent of their income on rent, and the cost of renting in London has risen has increase more than £2,000 a year over five years.

The average one bedroom flat in London is more expensive than the average cost of a three bedroom house outside the capital. 

And Covid-19 appears to have had a heavy toll on Londoners’ abilities to pay rent according to polling by YouGov, with one in four struggling to make rent during the pandemic.

Khan told JOE: “For too long London’s rental market has operated at the whims of private landlords but Londoners deserve better.

“I want to build a better London where everyone can fulfil their potential and nobody risks being priced out of their city – something needs to change and the time is now.

“The election on May 6 is a two-horse race between me and the Tory candidate who is ideologically opposed to helping renters.

The case for rent controls is undeniable and a vote for me will be a vote for a brighter future for London after the pandemic.” 

However, Khan’s main opposition candidate, Conservative Shaun Bailey, has previously said “rent controls will make a bad situation worse.” 

Writing for ConservativeHome in 2019, Bailey said: “Rent controls don’t work. 

“They’re false hope peddled by politicians who don’t want do the hard work of building the homes that Londoners, especially young people, desperately need.”

Bailey has instead argued for the building of 100,000 new houses as part of his mayoral bid, many suggested with shared ownership, that would be available for a £5,000 deposit

The Conservative mayoral candidate controversially told Inside Housing in January that those experiencing homelessness could save £5,000 to buy a property via the scheme.