BBC fact-checks Sadiq Khan’s rent control claims

BBC fact-checks Sadiq Khan’s rent control claims

0:03 AM, 15th September 2023, About 8 months ago 7

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The BBC has challenged London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s claims that rents in the capital will rise to £2,700 per month – leaving renters to struggle since the average salary is £2,131.

The mayor has called several times for a rent freeze to help tenants cope with the housing crisis – and used these figures as proof that tenants are struggling.

According to BBC Radio 4’s More or Less programme, which examines statistical claims, the figures used by Mr Khan and his office are misleading and inaccurate.

The main issue is that Mr Khan used this year’s average salary figure and applied it to next year’s predicted rent average – without considering that salaries will increase before then.

Mayor’s claim that rents will reach £2,700

The programme found that the Mayor’s claim that rents will reach £2,700 per month next year was based on a combination of Rightmove rent figures and a projection of a 5% increase from Savills, a property consultancy.

However, the BBC reporter said ‘there was a problem’ with the claim since this was an average for rentals of all sizes, including properties with multiple rooms, and was only for new rentals.

The median rent for existing tenants in London is much lower than Mr Khan claims at £1,500 per month.

Average rent figure for a studio flat in London

The programme used research from Rightmove to highlight that in July, the average rent figure for a studio flat in London was £1,489.

For a one-bedroom apartment, the average is £1,800, while a two-bedroom flat – the most popular rental property in London – is £2,265.

The programme also points to a couple sharing a one-bedroom flat and they would have two incomes to pay the rent.

This, the researchers say, shows that one person on an average salary wouldn’t have much left when renting a one-bedroom flat.

But a couple sharing a two-bedroom flat would have a much higher disposable income.

The salary figure of £2,131 used by the mayor

The programme also found that the salary figure of £2,131 used by the mayor was for this year and was the income of a single person, not a couple or a household.

City Hall told the programme that the income they used was from the website.

The figure also doesn’t take into the rate of wage increases in recent months.

The BBC found that the average household income in London was £3,000 per month, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Mr Khan calls for a rent freeze in London would, he claims, save renters £3,374 on average over two years.

He says that private renters make up nearly a third of the capital’s population and that they are being ‘consistently let down’ by the government.

Mr Khan’s use of rent and income data

In a Tweet that led the programme to take a closer look at Mr Khan’s use of rent and income data, he said: “Londoners re-elected me on a manifesto pledge to push for the powers to control rents, and I will not stop advocating for this lifeline on their behalf.”

The BBC’s More or Less programme questioned the validity of the mayor’s claims and suggested that they were based on selective and inflated data – and this was done ‘to make things look considerably worse than they really are’.

Listen to BBC Radio 4’s More or Less programme – the item starts at 15 minutes.

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Churchills Tax Advisers

11:26 AM, 15th September 2023, About 8 months ago

If it was so bad renters would be living outside London.

I assume that the average salary is gross pay and rent comes out of net pay, in which case the position would be even worse than Sadiq Khan suggests!!

It is a shame politicians are not forced to resign if they lied. The added benefit would be that there would probably be nobody left in government and we could all get on with our lives.


11:39 AM, 15th September 2023, About 8 months ago

We don't need a rent cap, what we need is a "Mayor cap".
The Mayor is currently out of control causing misery to many.

The Mayor cap would limit the taxes payable and number of regulations a Mayor could create.(including Ulez).

That would make London far more livable.


12:31 PM, 15th September 2023, About 8 months ago

Khan and the truth is an oxymoron.


10:56 AM, 17th September 2023, About 8 months ago

I guess Londoners need much lower rents because they have to pay the mayor’s unjustified ULEZ charge or spend ten of thousands on compliant cars.

If rent controls were to be introduced, they should be linked to house prices and base rates with a premium to account for the landlord’s costs and time as well as the risk they take on.

With mortgages typically around 7%, months surely a rent of at least 10% of house price is justified. Those EPC, EICRs, Gas Safe checks, punitive (Section 24) taxes, selective licensing scams, proposed redress scheme and pointless databases won’t pay for themselves.


13:37 PM, 17th September 2023, About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Churchills Tax Advisers at 15/09/2023 - 11:26
maybe, initially,
1/. all public bodies who quote statistics should have to provide the full source of their data, BY LAW.
2/. and if they miss use the data then there should be some legal consequence.
3/. if Mr Khan has mis-used data for tenants v landlords is there a possibility he has also mis-used data to introduce ULEZ?
i hope the london voters between now and May 2024 get to see the real agenda of Mr Khan.

Churchills Tax Advisers

14:01 PM, 17th September 2023, About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jonathan Cocks at 17/09/2023 - 13:37
Possibility that he misused data to introduce ULEZ? That's an absolute certainty that he did. For a start, how do you prove with absolute certainty that someone has died from car pollution from exhaust fumes? Why not aircraft fumes and fuel dumping, brake dust, construction dust, dust and chemicals in the house, etc?


14:08 PM, 17th September 2023, About 8 months ago

“Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital”
Prof. Aaron Levenstein, November 1951

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