Council considers capping private rents
A local authority has hired a housing consultant to look at ways of capping private sector rents – thought to be the first council in the country to consider this.
Camden Council has hired Christine Whitehead, professor of housing economics at the London School of Economics, to examine how this could be done. One method under consideration is offering financial incentives to private landlords who agree to cap rent increases in line with inflation.
Councillor Julian Fulbrook, cabinet member for housing, is quoted in a north London newspaper as describing rents in the borough as “unbelievable” with tenants having “lurid tales about how landlords are putting up rents.”
Fulbrook – who has in the past worked with Whitehead at the LSE – says the measures under investigation include loans for capital repairs to private landlords in exchange for them signing up to a so-called ‘rent stabilisation scheme’.
The Labour-controlled authority may also introduce a kitemark scheme for landlords who register with the council, and is looking at how to extend the duration of tenancies in the private sector.
Camden’s policies follow those of Labour leader Ed Miliband who wants three-year tenancy agreements beginning with a six-month probationary period, a ban on what Miliband calls “excessive rental increases”, and the outlawing of letting agents charging tenants fees for low level services, such as signing a tenancy agreement.