UK Rental Market: Control or be controlled.

The UK rental market is moving towards a pivotal point as more people are calling out for rent controls to be put into practice. A survey recently conducted by Survation found that 59% of 1009 people questioned, somewhat or strongly supported the motion of reducing the amount landlords can take from tenants each month.

Only 6.8% of people were somewhat or strongly rent controls, and those in favour of rent controls were represented by an even larger percentage in London, 65.5%. This feeling was stronger for those already living in the private rental sector, with 77% of private renters nationwide in favour of rent control. The predictability and knowledge that rent prices will be steady, would provide a huge benefit to private renters who can plan ahead their finances. With house prices sharply rising recently, the introduction of rent controls could provide a huge benefit to tenants who have had to settle for the rental market.

This could help stymie the number of people who are no longer able to afford to buy a mortgage but can invest money into a stable rent. There are some negative aspects however, with the possibility that rent controls could prompt Landlords to reduce their portfolios, decreasing the amount of housing available in the UK private rental sector. Although you could argue this would increase the amount of housing available to those who want to jump on to the property ladder, potentially lowering average house prices in the UK to boot. There has been some support for rent control from Labour’s London mayor candidate Diane Abbott, who has proposed the instigation of a ?rent control system in which landlords are charged a levy for every pound they charge above a fair rent.

The proceeds from the levy would go towards building affordable housing and would also aim to discourage landlords from overcharging.? (Independent, January 2015) Abbott’s ideas would involve landlords being capped at charging 50% of the council tax charge in the local area, or if they charge above the cap they would incur a fee of £364, which would be forwarded to the Mayor of London to supplement new social housing. The Residential Landlords Association have countered proposals to regulate the private rental sector by stating that the private rental sector is falling in real terms. They noted that the English Housing Survey depicted a 6.5% rise in private rental fees, from 2011/12 to 2012/13, in comparison to a 25.4% rise in the social sector.

The private rental sector fees were actually below the RPI, which was measured at 16.2%, indicating an increase in value for money for private renters.

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