Buy to Let

Rent controls will make it even harder for tenants

Sir, Rent controls are meaningless without guaranteed long-term tenure. The combination of the two effectively results in a transfer of value from the landlord to the tenant if the tenant wants to stay in the long term. So the reaction to rent controls or even the threat of them will restrict the type of tenants landlords will choose; those not there for the long term — which is exactly what happened when rent controls were last enacted.

Ironically, the tenants who will benefit are not those whom Jeremy Corbyn is seeking to protect; they will find it harder to rent. All this should be viewed in the context of a changing private rental sector where the withdrawal of interest relief will result in fewer mortgaged buy-to-let properties and so the remaining smaller number of landlords will not be under the same pressure to let out their properties as they will lack the imperative to service debt. They can and will afford to be choosy and indeed must be to avoid loss of capital value.

If they can’t find suitable tenants they will sell their stock, probably to end users, as indeed those on high mortgages must be contemplating now. A lot of new purpose-built, buy-to-let stock is hitting the market too. All this is good news for end users as there will be increased supply of property available for them but it won’t help Generation Rent.

Alex Shinder
London NW3, UK

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