By Alistair Mitchell
This year £23.8 billion will be spent on Housing Benefit. The budget keeps spiraling thanks to rent increases (37% in last 5 years alone). Yet the government’s response to this huge bill hits only tenants, particularly in London, with housing benefit limits and Bedroom Tax.
Not one of the political parties has proposed a RENT CAP. Rent Caps are in use throughout Sweden to stop tenants being overcharged by landlords and their agents.
Imposing a Rent Cap of 90% of average rents in the UK would:
1. Save £2.38 billion in Housing Benefit – without hitting tenants.
2. Relieve the financial pressure on urban tenants.
3. Dis-incentivise ‘Buy-To-Let’ landlordism.
4. Free up more property for first time buyers currently priced out of the market by the ‘Buy-To-Let’ brigade.
Landlords have ‘filled their boots’ since the stock market crash in 2008, using ‘Buy-To-Let’ mortgages to expand their empires, driving up property prices as more enter the market for investment, not need; and increasing rents in line with gains from those price increases.
Housing Benefit is now as much a vehicle to feed landlord’s profits, as it is a shelter for needy tenants.
It is time to impose Rent Capping to tackle landlord profiteering and relieve hard-pressed tenants.