On Wednesday 16th May 2018 I led a short debate on rent controls in the Senedd. Housing is too important to the population's health and wellbeing to be left to market forces alone. We cannot allow a rampant free market to condemn generation rent to expensive, low quality housing.
Many countries across the world have fair rent regulations. Wales like the rest of Britain had regulations to ensure fair rents up to 1989, when they were abandoned by the Thatcher government in favour of free market prices. Since then landlords can charge what they want.
The power to regulate rents in the private sector was transferred to the Welsh Government by Parliament in 2006.
Average rents in South Wales are now £911pcm and are at an eye watering £1,094 pcm in Cardiff.
“Housing is too important to the population’s health and wellbeing to be left to market forces alone. We cannot allow a rampant free market to condemn generation rent to expensive, low-quality housing.
“We need an end to unfair evictions, rent controls, and a radical overhaul of the housing system to deliver rent stability”
Rent controls are used across the world to prevent rents from rising too quickly. They are already used in Berlin, Paris and New York and wholesale across Holland. Edinburgh and Glasgow are considering rent controls since the Scottish Parliament passed the Private Housing (Tenancies) Scotland Act 2016, which allowed councils to apply to put a cap on rent increases.
There are many types of rent control. One way is to cap increases with secure long term tenancies. That means tenants could have a 5 year tenancy and know that their rent would not increase by more than inflation for the duration of the tenancy. Another involves councils dictating the maximum rent that could be charged like in New York, Paris and Berlin. A Welsh example might mean telling landlords they can’t charge more than £10 per square metre, or a maximum £500 a month for a one bed flat.
“Rent controls are helping bring stability and justice for Generation Rent in capital cities across the world. Why shouldn’t Cardiff residents have that security?”
“Rent controls are just the beginning of what we need in Wales. We need a housing market that works for real people and honest landlords. Everyone needs a roof over their head and we can’t let businesses exploit this by making millions on providing unsafe and unaffordable homes any longer.