The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has said that rent controls would damage tenants’ budgets as current rent increases are below inflation.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that even in London, where properties are in high demand, rents rose by an average of 1.4% in the 12 months to March 2014. This compares to a consumer prices index rate of 1.7% and a retail prices index rate of 2.5% over the same period.
The RLA, which represents private landlords across the UK, says the figures show that pegging rents to inflation would leave many tenants worse off.
Chris Town, vice-chair of the RLA, said: “Rents in the private sector are continuing to rise by less than inflation. The sector offers a good and flexible option for many tenants in the face of much steeper house price rises. It’s important that people who talk about controlling rents through linking them to inflation realise that this could in fact hit many tenants who could face higher rents as a result.”
He added that the private sector was keen to expand to meet the need for homes which pushes rents up in areas of the country where demand is most acute.
“The real problem is with supply,” said Town. “The government should be making it easier for private landlords to provide more homes. An expanding private rented sector has a key role in tacking the nation’s housing crisis.”
Private sector rents have risen by 9.5% across England over the past nine years and in London by 12.5%. This compares with a Retail Price Index (RPI) increase of 33.8% and a CPI increase of 13.3% over the same period. By contrast, council rents rose by 42.5% and housing association rents by 43.8% over the eight years between 2005 and 2013.