Landlords are Pawns in Battle for Control of LondonMake Text Bigger
Landlords have become embroiled in a bitter battle for the election of the new London Mayor as candidates have made residential letting a major campaign issue.
Tory Mayor Boris Johnson is standing for re-election and wants to introduce a citywide accreditation scheme for buy to let landlords.
His opponent – former Labour Mayor Ken Livingstone – wants to set up a not-for-profit lettings agency across the capital to introduce rent control while bringing down fees and costs for tenants.
But speaking out for the buy to let sector Alan Ward, chairman of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) rubbished the proposals from both sides.
“Livingstone’s call for rent controls is an old idea that never worked in the past. Until 1988, rent controls resulted in a shortage of supply and poorer conditions for tenants. Hardly a remedy for 2012,” he said.
“With over 10,000 landlords in London already members of the London boroughs’ accreditation scheme, it would seem a waste of time and money for Johnson to reinvent the wheel. “The Mayor should focus on supporting and encouraging existing accreditation schemes, freeing his office up better to target the minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute.
“This should be matched by a programme of serious tenant education, providing tenants with all the information needed to better hold their landlords to account for the service they provide.
“It beggars belief that some people spend more time assessing the state of a car they wish to buy than the homes they seek to rent.”
In a speech to the Institute for Policy Research, Livingstone said: “We must intervene into the private rented sector. Tenants renting privately should not pay more than a third of their wage in rent.”
In response, Johnson pointed out that the London does not have the legal power to control rents without further government legislation. He also said further details about his plans for landlords would be released soon.
London will elect a Mayor on May 1, 2012.
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