Hackney MP Diane Abbott Calls For Rent Controls

By BethPH Last edited 40 months ago
Hackney MP Diane Abbott Calls For Rent Controls

camberwell treesMP for Hackney and future Mayoral candidate Diane Abbott has called for rent controls in a joint campaign with Generation Rent.

Pretty much everyone has been demanding reform to the private rental market, which has so distorted the cost of living in the capital that some people face rents of more than half of their monthly salary. But the government has been slow to act. Unlike the London Rental Standard (LRS), Abbott's proposals wouldn't be voluntary, and would force landlords to comply with the GLA's rent controls or face an extra charge of 50%.

Monthly rents would be no more than 50% of the local annual council tax bill, so a family living in a two-bed flat in Camberwell would have a council tax banding of B (£942) and a rent of £1,200 per month, so their rent cap would be £471. The extra charge to a landlord if they chose not to apply a cap would be £364. The extra charge would go to the Mayor of London to pay for new social housing.

Diane Abbott said:

“A major international city without measures to stabilise rent runs the risk of rents spiralling out of people’s reach. It is no coincidence that New York, Paris and Berlin all have some version of rent control. For too long politicians have rejected any form of rent controls but it is time to look at the issue again.”

We looked at how rent controls work in other countries in January. London Mayor Boris Johnson has previously rejected rent controls. The most common argument against rent control is that it would force landlords to sell up, reducing supply but increasing demand. The Telegraph said it risked rents becoming a political football — we think it's probably become that already.

Alex Hilton of Generation Rent called on Britain's baby-boomers in CityMetric to support the organisation's campaign for rent controls:

“This rent slavery, where people are ground down working to build their landlords’ buy-to-let empires, is untenable.”

Abbott has written to prime minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband to demand powers for the London Mayor and local authorities to introduce rent controls, saying rejection of the proposal must end.

Photo by Andy Worthington in the Londonist Flickr pool.

Last Updated 10 December 2014


It's an interesting proposal - but doubtful that it will actually work quite in the way described. Does anybody really believe that landlords will (in the example above) be able to reduce rent by 60%? And if anyone does reduce the rent by that amount, would landlords have any incentive to do any maintenance / renovation beyond the absolute minimum legal standards?

On the other hand, given that landlords are unlikely to reduce rent, this will generate a lot of tax revenue for the government. There are 3.3m households in London, of which 26% are privately rented. Let's take (as very rough average) an assumption that this generates £200 / month tax revenue from privately rented homes - about £2B a year towards new homes - not bad.

James Hammond

I have to agree with Mark on this; It is a fantastic idea, but simply may not be workable long term.

The only thing that may come of this is that the stock of rental accommodation that Landlords cannot afford the mortgages on being sold off would hopefully increase supply, and possibly bring down the prices of houses in the capital.

But that in itself is a long shot....


This is what will happen and why it cant work

Currently. Flat rented for £2000 and has 5 young sharers in it.

Abbot laws comes into effect, forcing landlord to rent out for £500

Plenty of people want to rent it for the new £500 price.
Does the landlord let it to the 5 shares for £500 or to the one guy who wants to live alone and can afford £500 pm?

The five sharers are replaced by one single person or a couple.

What happens to the 3-4 displaced people? forced to sleep in tents or to vacate London?

Lower rents = people not needing or wanting to share with strangers or people they loosely know = fewer people in homes = a real shortage of housing where love nor money can get you a property to rent