May 14, 2024 12:16 pm

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

The Labour Party has announced that it will not introduce rent controls if it wins the upcoming election. This decision marks a significant stance in the ongoing debate over how to address the housing crisis and protect renters.

A spokesperson for the party explained their position in an interview with the Guardian: “While we believe action is needed to protect renters and rebalance power, rent controls are not Labour policy. We are mindful of the risk they could pose to the availability of rental properties and the negative impact a reduction in supply would have on renters.”

The spokesperson added that the party is considering other measures to support renters and improve the rental market. These measures aim to ensure fair treatment for tenants without risking the potential drawbacks of strict rent controls, which could discourage landlords from offering rental properties and thus reduce the overall availability of housing.

Labour’s stance comes as the party seeks to address the concerns of both renters and landlords. By avoiding rent controls, they hope to maintain a healthy rental market while still finding ways to provide security and affordability for tenants. The decision reflects a balanced approach to housing policy, aiming to protect renters’ rights while ensuring a stable supply of rental properties.

The Labour Party has made a clear statement that it will not introduce rent controls if it wins the upcoming election. This statement is in response to a left-wing report that is set to be launched tomorrow, an event notably absent of shadow ministers.

The report, led by Stephen Cowan, leader of Hammersmith and Fulham council, was commissioned by Labour MP Lisa Nandy when she was the shadow housing secretary. However, an official party spokesperson indicated to The Guardian that this report does not represent formal Labour policy.

The leaked proposals in the report suggest a system to cap rents based on either consumer price inflation or local wage growth, whichever is lower, across England and Wales. Despite the attention this report has garnered, it has not been adopted as part of Labour’s platform for government.

The paper reports that this proposal will be rejected by the current shadow housing secretary, Angela Rayner. The party is wary of expert warnings that rent controls could deter developers from building new houses, potentially worsening the housing crisis. The Labour Party has expressed concerns that such controls could reduce the availability of rental properties, ultimately harming renters rather than helping them.

Cowan also suggests that rents should only be increased once a year, with tenants receiving at least four months’ notice before any increase. This recommendation aims to provide renters with more stability and predictability in their housing costs. Additionally, Cowan believes that rent review clauses, which allow landlords to raise rents mid-contract, should be banned to prevent unexpected and potentially burdensome rent hikes for tenants during their lease terms.

However, versions of these measures are already included in the government’s Renters Reform Bill, although it proposes a two-month notice period before a rent increase, not four months. The bill is part of a broader effort to enhance tenant protections and improve the rental market. Despite some overlap with Cowan’s suggestions, the Labour Party’s stance remains cautious, balancing the need for tenant protections with concerns about the potential impact on housing supply.

The report in today’s paper states: “The Guardian understands that the report, led by Cowan, will be launched on Wednesday without any shadow cabinet minister attending the event.”

Cowan himself comments: “Renters have a right to know that their home will be safe and of good standard. Good landlords have a right to compete in a market where everyone follows the same rules. These recommendations will help make that happen efficiently and quickly.”


Other recommendations include:

  • An annually updated National Landlords Register would require landlords to show compliance with the decent homes standard or face fines and possible criminal charges.
  • Scrapping Section 21 eviction powers to give tenants more security in their homes.
  • Introducing measures to discourage landlords from entering the short-term and holiday let market by equalising the tax treatment for all types of private letting.
  • Policies to ensure medium-term affordable housing becomes the second-largest part of the housing sector, reducing reliance on the private rental market.


Activist groups calling for rent controls are expected to attend the launch of the report tomorrow. One notable figure, Tom Darling from the Renters’ Reform Coalition, says, “These seem like sensible proposals for reforming the private rented sector.”

He adds, “If Labour wins the general election, it’s crucial they implement reforms like these quickly. This will provide security of tenure for renters, who have been severely let down by the government amid the ongoing renting crisis.”

The report’s launch is seen as a key moment for those advocating for tenant rights and housing reform.



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