The private rental market is completely out of control and costs are skyrocketing. Rents have risen at record rates month after month, up by more than a quarter since the start of the Covid pandemic. This is forcing people to cut back on essentials during a cost of living crisis that is already leaving people struggling to keep the lights on and put food on the table with Christmas just around the corner. All while landlords are lining their pockets. Tenants across England are just one rent rise away from being forced out of their home, out of their community, and often onto the streets.
But it doesn’t have to be like this.
Rent controls won’t solve the housing crisis on their own, but they are a meaningful step towards building a fairer housing system and would put the brakes on the price spiral we are currently facing.
Rent controls are not an extreme idea; they were a feature of the British housing system in a variety of forms from the end of the First World War until they were largely phased out by Thatcher in the 1980s. Cities around the world, from Berlin to New York, have embraced rent controls as a way to protect tenants and communities. We are not advocating for untested solutions, but rather revisiting mechanisms which have previously been used to safeguard renters and which are in use around the world today in one form or another.
Rent controls in England would protect tenants from skyrocketing rent costs, allow communities to remain intact, and provide the stability and security that everybody needs. They would be a huge step on the road to ensuring that housing is treated as a basic human need that is affordable to all. And that’s exactly why we’re fighting for them. All we want for Christmas is rent controls!