Residential Landlords Association (RLA)
Rent controls hurt tenants says new research
Rent controls hurt tenants by drying up the supply of homes to rent and in some cases increasing rents according to new research published today.
With the Mayor of London calling for the power to introduce rent controls across the capital, an analysis of existing research by the Residential Landlords Association on the impact of rent controls around the world reveals the harm they can cause. Examples include:
- Forms of rent control exist in Los Angeles and San Francisco. A paper for the California Budget and Policy Centre has reported that renters are “substantially more likely to struggle with housing affordability than homeowners.” It goes on to note that: “More than half of renter households paid over 30% of income toward housing in 2017, and more than a quarter were severely cost-burdened, paying more than half of household income toward housing costs.” A further paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research has found that in San Francisco, landlords affected by rent control reduced rental housing supply by 15 per cent.
- Research for the National Multi Housing Council in the United States warns that rent control and rent stabilisation laws “lead to a reduction in the available supply of rental housing in a community, particularly through the conversion to ownership of controlled buildings.”
- A document prepared for the European Commission has warned that rent controls “appear to have a significant destabilizing impact on the aggregate housing market, increasing the volatility of house prices when confronted with different shocks.” It goes on to note: “The drawbacks of rent controls in terms of unintended consequences for housing market stability and negative effects on labour mobility would advise against their use for redistribution purpose”.
- In 2015, a rent control mechanism was introduced across Germany. The research cites evidence showing that between 2015 and 2017 rents in central Berlin increased by almost 10 per cent. Before the introduction of the control they had been rising by just one to two per cent each year. Research by the German Institute for Economic Research has concluded: “Contrary to the expectations of the policy makers, the rental brake has, at best, no impact in the short run. At worst, it even accelerates rent increases both in municipalities subject to the rental brake and in neighbouring areas.”
- In Italy, a paper for the Centre for the Analysis of Public Policies notes that the private supply of rental homes fell dramatically after a law regulating rent levels was introduced in 1978. A further paper has found that in Italy between 1998 and 2008, market rents increased by 57 per cent compared to a growth in household income of 31 per cent.
- In Sweden, a report by the International Monetary Fund this year concluded: “Tackling Sweden’s dysfunctional housing market requires reforms of rent controls, tax policies, and construction regulation. In addition to fully liberalizing rents of newly constructed apartments, there is a need to phase out existing controls, such as by applying market rents when there is a change in tenant.”
The latest research comes shortly after a senior academic warned the Greater London Assembly that the Mayor’s proposals for rent controls would have “really dramatic unintended consequences.” Addressing the Assembly’s Budget and Performance committee, Kath Scanlon, assistant professorial research fellow at the London School of Economic, argued that: “Landlords would simply decide they were no longer going to rent their properties.” The Centre for Cities warned earlier this year that: “Rather than helping make London open to everyone, strict rent control would close off London to new residents and divide the city’s renters into winners and losers.”
David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said:
“This research shows clearly that rent controls are not a panacea for tenants. Far from making renting cheaper, experience around the world shows it can make it more expensive and more difficult for those looking for a home to rent.
“Rather than resorting to simplistic and populist ideas which have shown themselves to fail, the Mayor should instead work with the vast majority of private landlords doing a good job to see what is needed to stimulate the delivery of more homes to rent. Increasing supply is by far the most effective way of keeping rents down.”
Latest News from
Residential Landlords Association (RLA)
November licensing update for landlords12/11/2019 16:15:00
In our licensing update this month, we not only take a look at some of the proposed licensing schemes that are up for consultation across the country, but we also take a closer look at one of our six key manifesto asks when it comes to improving enforcement for all.
Merton Council fine criminal landlord £5000 for health and safety breaches12/11/2019 14:15:00
A landlord in London has been ordered to pay nearly £5000 for failing to apply for a HMO licence and breaching health and safety laws.
Wales fees ban: Welsh Government publishes default fees consultation responses11/11/2019 15:25:00
The Welsh Government has confirmed it intends to bring forward regulations to provide clarity on what landlords will be able to charge in respect of default payments, as part of the Wales fees ban, in the New Year.
General Election 2019 – What we know so far11/11/2019 13:15:00
Ahead of political parties launching their election manifestos over the next week, we look at some of the statements politicians from each of the three major parties have made when it comes to housing – and in particular the private rented sector.
Welsh Government to trial leasing scheme for private landlords11/11/2019 11:05:00
The Welsh Government recently announced plans to introduce a pilot ‘lease’ scheme for private landlords, designed to increase housing stock in the country.
Energy Efficiency: Government rejects plans to increase cost cap to £5k08/11/2019 15:15:15
Landlords with properties that have an energy performance rating of F or G will not be expected to pay up to £5k in order to improve the energy efficiency rating of the property, after a recommendation to raise the cap was rejected.
RLA launches 2019 election campaign07/11/2019 15:05:00
The RLA’s vision for the PRS of the future has been outlined ahead of December’s General Election.
Funding to tackle criminals a step in the right direction05/11/2019 16:25:00
New funding announced by the government to tackle criminal landlords is welcome – but is nowhere near enough.