Concerns over Labours rent control plans

Posted on Monday, October 6, 2014

Labour plans for the private rented sector (PRS) would be disastrous for the UK's housing market, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

The organisation has analysed figures produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government in a bid to demonstrate the importance of the PRS and discovered 60 per cent of the housing stock created since 1986 has been in the rental sector.

This research has been undertaken in light of the plans announced at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester last week.

Among the proposals put forward at the event are the implementation of rent controls, a national register of landlords and the banning of revenge evictions through new legislation.

RLA chairman Alan Ward stated: "The figures show that private landlords are the largest single investor group in the UK housing market. Without the increase in rented dwellings we have seen, the current housing crisis would be more like an armageddon."

He accused Labour politicians of looking to make "cheap political points" rather than support the PRS and said the party is focusing on "populist regulations" without considering the consequences. "Sadly Labour just does not get it on rented housing," Mr Ward added.

The RLA claimed there are a number of problems with the PRS policies suggested by the party. It said the Competition and Markets Authority has specified that banning revenge evictions would be illegal, while the previous Labour government had dismissed the introduction of a landlords register as difficult to enforce and expensive.

Regarding rent controls, the RLA said Labour is pursuing this policy despite having carried out a consultation that found the last time this measure was taken it had a significant negative impact on investment in the PRS.

Labour's plans for the rental market have been widely criticised by figures within the PRS. In May, Landlord Assist described the proposals as "simply unworkable", while a report from the Institute of Economic Affairs claimed the introduction of rent controls would not make private renting more affordable