Research from housing charity Shelter revealed introducing “hard rent controls” to cut rents would be “very risky.”
The research found that trying to significantly cut – or even freeze – rents with the introduction of hard rent controls is much more risky, and could lead to an increase in evictions, landlords selling up, a growth in the black market for homes, and deterioration of conditions in rented homes.
Earlier this year Shelter commissioned Cambridge University’s Centre for Housing and Planning Research to look at the impact of different forms of rent regulation.
The report explained the difference between “rent control”, “rent caps” and “rent regulation”, terms that are often used interchangeably.
The charity is campaigning for five-year tenancy lengths to be introduced as standard to give renters the security to put down roots and keep their children in the same schools. It asserts during the term of the tenancy, landlords should only put up the rent by the same amount as inflation. This would be a form of “soft”, or second generation, rent control.
Writing in the Huffington Post, Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: “Though they appear an easy solution, rent caps could actually cause more problems for tenants. The researchers predict that driving down the cost of rents in this way will cause evictions to rise, conditions to get worse, and make it a lot tougher for any one on a low income (especially those on housing benefit) to find somewhere to live.
“But the research also showed that the market could easily cope with being more supportive for families. When tested, the economic modelling provides compelling evidence that it would be safe to introduce longer term tenancies, where rents can only rise by inflation.”