London mayor Sadiq Khan wants rent control power

The Mayor of London has called on the government to hand him extra powers so he can cap rents in the capital.

Sadiq Khan said the controls were needed to “fundamentally rebalance London’s private rented sector” and make it “fit for purpose”.

Critics said his plans were “deluded” and could have a negative long-term impact on the quality of housing.

The government said rent controls could drive responsible landlords out and “ultimately push rents up”.

Average monthly private rents in London have increased by 35% from £1,095 in 2011 to £1,473 in 2018, according to analysis by the Valuation Office Agency.

Private renters in the city spent 42% of their household income on rent, compared with 30% spent by those living elsewhere in England, according to the latest English Housing Survey.

In his report, titled Reforming Private Renting: The Mayor of London’s Blueprint, Mr Khan argues that until more homes were built to ensure long-term affordability, “Londoners who rent privately need help with the high costs of renting”.

The arguments for rent control in London had therefore “become overwhelming”, the report said.

The Labour mayor said: “If our proposals were implemented, we could fundamentally rebalance London’s private rented sector - making it fit for purpose through a new approach that is long overdue.”

However, Jonathan Cribb, senior research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said while rent controls could have short-term benefits for people in rent-controlled properties, they could have a negative impact on the quality of rented housing.