Speaking at the party’s conference in Brighton, Corbyn argued that it was not sustainable for the younger generation’s housing costs to be three times more than those of their grandparents.
Noting that rent controls exist in many other cities across the globe, he added: “I want our cities to have those powers too and tenants to have those protections”.
David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, accused Corbyn and the Labour Party of failing to learn “the lessons of history”, arguing that the last time rent controls existed in the UK the private rented sector went from housing 90% of the population to just 7%.
Cox continued: “Whenever and wherever rent controls are introduced, the quantity of available housing reduces significantly, and the conditions in privately rented properties deteriorate dramatically. Landlords, agents, and successive governments over the last 30 years have worked hard to improve the conditions of rented properties and this is like taking two steps backwards. Rent control is not the answer – to bring rent costs down we need a concerted house building effort to increase stock in line with ever-growing demand.”
In addition, Corbyn promised a tax on undeveloped land held by developers, with the right to compulsorily purchase, while he also promised to tackle regeneration, which he claimed in reality too often means “forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out”.
He declared that under a Labour government, councils who come forward with regeneration plans will have to demonstrate that those plans will be for the benefit of local people, and not for developers or property speculators.
He continued: “First, people who live on an estate that’s redeveloped must get a home on the same site and the same terms as before. No social cleansing, no jacking up rents, no exorbitant ground rents. And second councils will have to win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders before any redevelopment scheme can take place.Real regeneration, yes, but for the many not the few.”
Elsewhere in the speech, Corbyn promised to bring certain utilities back into public ownership, pledged to scrap tuition fees, and emphasised that its tax-raising plans would focus on businesses and high earners, with low and middle earners unaffected.