Why Labour's rent cap won't make your rent cheaper

Apr 25, 2015 9:49 PM

Sounds a bit strange to say this but it’s absolutely true, however, it will make your tenure more secure.

Labour’s proposal is to cap rent increases at inflation for the first three years of a tenancy. This doesn’t give you the ability to plan your finances – because you don’t know what the inflation rates will be over the next three years – but it is a long way from wild west situation we have today.

It will help your tenure security because rent is the number one tool landlords use to get rid of a tenant. They have almost no restrictions on rent hikes so if they want you gone, they can just put rent up to an unaffordable level. Or if they don’t want you gone, they can raise the rents to make sure they’re squeezing tenants until their pips squeak.

But by definition, with no market controls, this is the market rent, and Labour’s proposal is not a market control that will keep your rent down. This is because they have no plans to limit rent rises between tenancies – or indeed after your first three years are up.

Worse than this, Labour’s also planning to introduce new ways for landlords to evict you within that three year period, for example if they want to sell your home or get it back for other reasons. These loopholes are pretty scary when you think they’re attached to a big financial incentive to use them – because that’s the only way they will be able to put the rent up in the first three years.

A lot of landlords would continue being decent human beings so they and their tenants would be unaffected by these proposals. But vulnerable tenants whose landlords are exploiting them could find the Labour proposals make very little difference.

This is why we're calling for real rent controls. Please write to your candidates now and tell them what you think.