Rent controls

MQT on 2016-05-25
Session date: 
May 25, 2016
Question By: 
Andrew Boff
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


How will you ensure that your proposed rent controls, and other private rented sector measures, do not impact on housing supply?


Answer for Rent controls

Answer for Rent controls

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you.  Affordability is a huge problem in the private rented sector.  Over the last eight years rents have increased by nearly three times average earnings, but I have no plans to introduce rent controls, nor the powers to do so.


I am determined to take action to improve life for London’s 2 million private renters.  Whilst most landlords offer a good service, there are still far too many problems in the sector.  I will do everything in my power to improve standards in the sector, including supporting landlord licensing and naming-and-shaming rogue landlords, whilst supporting new build-to-rent developments.  None of these measures will have a negative impact on housing supply.


This is in stark contrast to the last Mayor, who let renters down by wasting time and money in ineffectual initiatives like the London Rental Standard.


Andrew Boff AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  How do you intend to persuade the boroughs to introduce licensing schemes?  Let me put it another way.  You want to centralise licensing in London and so you want to take powers away from the boroughs to introduce licensing schemes and introduce it London-wide.  Is that the case?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  No.


Andrew Boff AM:  I misread your manifesto.  It seems to say:


“Working alongside boroughs to promote landlord licensing schemes to drive up standards, and make the case to Government for London-wide landlord licensing.”


That does not sound like a “no” to me.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am trying to follow your strictures, Chairman, to answer the question.  The first part of your question used the phrase “work alongside boroughs”.


Andrew Boff AM:  Yes.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  That contradicts your last question, which was about taking powers away from boroughs.


Andrew Boff AM:  OK.  Who currently has the powers for landlord licensing, Mr Mayor?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Local authorities can apply to the Government to get the powers.


Andrew Boff AM:  All right.  You want those powers?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I want to work alongside boroughs to make sure we can have more licensing schemes in London.  Some boroughs have them; some boroughs do not.  We can help them ‑‑


Andrew Boff AM:  What is the case that you are making to the Government, then, for London-wide licensing?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  There are hoops you have to go through before you can become a licensing authority.  Some boroughs would like the powers but do not have them.  The point is that we need to give local authorities the powers to do so.


Separate from that is the issue of a London-wide letting agency.  I am not sure if that is what you mean.


Andrew Boff AM:  No, it is not the letting agency.  You do not want the powers to do landlord licensing London-wide, yes or no?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  We want all of the boroughs to have the powers to do so.  At the moment some would like to but cannot and some who can do.


Andrew Boff AM:  Sorry, I misunderstood the words in your manifesto ‑‑


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  That is OK.


Andrew Boff AM:  ‑‑ because it did ask for London-wide licensing, but you are now saying you do not want powers for London-wide licensing; you just want boroughs to have more powers to do what they have the powers to do already?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Let me it explain it in a way that, hopefully, you will understand.


Andrew Boff AM:  Yes, please.  That would be good.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I do not see why, simply because you happen to be a private renter in a good Labour council, which is a licensing authority, you get a better deal than being a private renter in a different local authority that does not have a licensing scheme.  My point is very simple.  I want all Londoners who are private renters to have the benefits of having a licensed landlord scheme.


Andrew Boff AM:  I sure understand that, Mr Mayor, and I am sorry for prolonging this.  I sure understand that.  However, you do not want the powers to introduce a licensing scheme in London?  That is what I am trying to get to the bottom of.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  If the London councils and the 32 boroughs ‑‑


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The councils already have that power.  You do not want it as well but you would like to see them exercise that power.  Is that right?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Not all of them can do that.  They have to make an application and not all of them can do that.  The point is that we want all of London covered.


Andrew Boff AM:  OK.  What action are you going to take to introduce licensing London-wide?  I am sorry about this but ‑‑


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  At the moment I am speaking to the 32 boroughs.  I have already met with many of them.  I will work with them to form an alliance to lobby the Government for additional powers if we need them.


Andrew Boff AM:  OK.  I am very unclear, Mr Chairman, but I am going to give up, basically.  Thank you.