London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s proposed blueprint for private renting has been criticised by the National Landlords Association (NLA), who described his plans as “contradictory and at worst, deluded”.
Mr Khan proposed to usher in a policy whereby the Mayor would be given greater powers to introduce rent controls in London, through a newly-created Private Rent Commission and a universal register of landlords.
The whole blueprint was revealed by Mr Khan, following a leak in late 2018, where he had outlined a case for introducing rent controls in the capital. Mr Khan justified the idea in the leaked correspondence, saying it would be done to impose a “strategic approach to rent stabilisation and control.”
Influence on Government policy
Mr Khan is understood to have been a major influence over the Government, when it announced proposals to scrap Section 21. The proposals would prevent landlords using no-fault eviction notices to repossess properties from tenants without a clear reason.
The London Mayor’s support for scrappage of the policy was outlined, when he came out in support for open-ended tenancies, in-line with the Labour Party’s own policy to scrap Section 21. Labour’s own view on the matter was adopted when it was presented as a motion at the Labour party conference last year.
This is a particularly relevant issue for Londoners at present, given that Londoners pay the highest rents of any region in the UK. In June, HomeLet estimated that Londoners were paying as much as £1,611 per month on rent, significantly higher than the national average of just £941 per month.
Criticism of Mr Khan’s stance
The NLA reported that as many as 89 per cent of landlords would avoid voting for any party that proposed rent controls, while 85 per cent of them would also avoid giving their vote to a party that wished to remove Section 21.
Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA, explained the reason for such strong criticism among landlords, saying: “The Mayor’s strategy is at best contradictory and at worst, deluded. Either he hasn’t researched how landlords’ businesses work, or he didn’t understand what he found. Or perhaps he did, and he just doesn’t care.”
Mr Lambert added that Mr Khan’s plans for capping and reducing rents would risk destroying any prospect landlords have of covering costs or making a profit.
The London Mayor was asked to explain why rent controls wouldn’t reduce the supply of private rental homes available to Londoners. Mr Lambert asked this, referring to the fact that such a move had tended to have this effect, when implemented elsewhere.
Mr Lambert concluded: “The Mayor’s blueprint won’t solve London’s housing crisis; it will add to it. It’s just as well he doesn’t have the power to implement it.”