Dame Tessa Jowell has joined the Residential Landlords Association and the National Landlords Association in speaking out against the Labour Party’s plans to introduce rent controls.
The former Labour MP and Olympics Minister has told politicians pushing for a rent cap in London that they should think twice about the policy idea.
“Before taking a step like that you have to be very clear that it doesn’t have unintended consequences,” she said. “If you have a six-month lease in very poor accommodation, it doesn’t feel like home. It just feels like somewhere you can afford to live for a period of time.”
Dame Tessa, who was Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood between 1992 and 2015, added there’s “a growing sense that London is a city for the very poor and the ultra-rich” and hit out at investors buying up homes like “gold bars”.
Her opposition to rent controls follow the publication of a report by the National Landlords Association that claims the policy will halt house building.
“In the uncertainty that would undoubtedly follow proposals to introduce rent limits, both landlords and risk-averse lenders will almost certainly focus their intentions on lower risk investments and decimating new-build demand. The consequence of which will be stalled sites and a further reduction in house building.”
And Residential Landlords Association chairman Alan Ward says three out of five landlords would leave, or consider leaving, the private rented market if rent controls were introduced.
According to the results of a survey of over 1,000 RLA members, 75% of landlords either froze or cut their rents in 2014. “These results blow a hole through the myth that rent controls would be good for tenants,” says Ward.
“At a time when tenants need more choice over where they live, state-controlled rents would choke off supply, increase rents and reduce quality. It would be history repeating itself.”
Ward continued: “The reality is that rent controls would leave many tenants paying more than they do at the moment.
“Rather than coming up with ideologically-driven ideas, proponents of rent controls need to address the root issues, namely the need to boost the supply of homes to rent.”