The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has demanded more power in order to control and cut London rent rates.
In his report, Reforming private renting in London, Khan sets out of plan of 'fundamental reform', which would see the creation of a London Private Rent Commission. The commission would "implement and enforce measures to reduce rents and keep them at lower levels." It would also have London renters on the board, ensuring that new measures were implemented.
Other things that City Hall's report calls for include a universal register of landlords and rents; increasing landlord-to-tenant notice periods to four months; and scrapping break clauses in tenancy agreements.
Said Sadiq Khan:
Unlike other Mayors around the world, I have no powers over the private rented sector. That's why this landmark report sets out a detailed blueprint of what the government must do to overhaul tenancy laws, and what powers City Hall needs from them to bring rents down.
Rent control has been implemented before now in a number of major cities worldwide, including San Francisco and Berlin. Experts have found the effects to be a mixed blessing for renters. For example, in San Francisco during the 1990s it was found that although incumbent renters found themselves better off, those coming to the city later on paid higher rents due to a housing shortage.
An increasing number of Londoners are now renting — 26% in 2018 compared to 11% in 1990. The average private rent for a one-bed home in London is more than the average for a three-bed anywhere else in England. Something clearly must be done.
But City Hall will need the go-ahead from a Conservative government, likely to soon be led by Boris Johnson. He's said to favour the idea of ownership over rental, and didn't introduce anything that would be considered 'rent control' in his eight-year tenure as Mayor of London.