Labour politician calls for rent controls to manage ‘Wild West’ market

With tenants across many parts of the country facing rents rising faster than people’s incomes, the local mayor or Bristol, and Labour and parliamentary candidate ahead of the next general election, is calling for the introduction of rent controls.

Marvin Rees believes there is a need for rent controls in the housing market, particularly in booming areas like Bristol, as private tenants face some of the highest prices outside the capital.

The Bristol mayor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There has been no real change in our regulatory powers as a local authority to keep up with the changing nature of the housing market. We are taking old tools to new challenges.”

In Bristol, over the last decade, rents have gone up about 52% and wages have gone up 24%

On rent controls, he said: “I recognise there is complexity but what we certainly need is intervention in the rental market.

“Whether you call that control or not is up to you, but there needs to be an intervention because allowing this Wild West of the rental market with rents growing out of all pace to people’s income…

“What we have at the moment in Bristol is, over the last decade, rents have gone up about 52% and wages have gone up 24%.

“You can see there is a huge price to be paid for that, not just in the individuals impacted, by the way.

He continued: “A good-quality home is one of the most significant public health interventions we can make that will give us more resilience against future pandemics such as Covid.

“It means that we can actually recruit teachers and nurses to Bristol, which we are struggling to do now because of the affordability.

“It makes for more settled communities.”

He said Bristol has set up a living rent commission, including council representatives, tenants’ groups, housing developers and landlords, to look at the housing market in the area and come up with recommendations to ensure people can live there.

Among the various issues the housing sector may have to look at is whether there should be more things to make it easier for landlords to provide privately rented properties, as some say there are more tax breaks for people who provide holiday lets than for those who provide the kind of places that people can live in for a long time.

Rees added: “We have to recognise that some landlords just will be very small people who have invested in a property for their pension. That does not make them bad, that just means that whatever has happened to them financially in our pensions system has not supported people so they are driven to a cannibalisation of the housing market. We have to take that into account.

“It has to be part of a wider approach that means building homes as well.”



Email the story to a friend


  1. letstalk

    NEWSFLASH: If you allowed it to be a free market rents wouldn’t be rising at current rates because LLs wouldn’t be leaving the market… I am concerned that so any MP’s struggle to grasp basic economics.

  2. Shaun Adams

    The only reason he is saying this is to buy votes

    there are more tenants than landlords and so their vote is greater

    Rent control will make many landlords sell – tenants will lose their homes – there won’t be available props for them to move into

  3. Woodentop

    State take over. End of industry.

  4. AcornsRNuts

    Marvin the plonker has ruined Bristol with his hatred for cars.  Now he wants to so the same for the PRS.  Trouble is he will be elected because they would vote for a donkey wearing a red rosette and it looks like that is exactly what they will do.

  5. PRS is fun

    Rent control will stop the spread of disease? Economic principles like supply / demand / open border labour markets are no match for this kind of logic. That we inexplicably find ourselves in the ‘Wild West’ after repeated interventions might be a good place to pause and reflect, rather than seeking more intervention?


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.