London’s Mayor Just Called For A Rent Freeze… Again

Everyone knows that renting in London can be hellish. Prices are rising, competition for relatively affordable rooms is fierce, and some so-called "rental opportunities" are a total joke.
The latest report from SpareRoom has revealed that the average room rent in London is now £815 a month, which is 15% higher than the 2021 average of £708. This is clearly unacceptable as we deal with an escalating cost-of-living crisis, so London's Mayor Sadiq Khan has once again asked for the power to do something about it.
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"This is a disgrace," he tweeted this week. "Rents are soaring while landlords profit. I've repeatedly asked the Govt to let me freeze rents." Khan said that if he were granted this power, he could save tenants nearly £3,000 in rent over the next two years.
Khan isn't exaggerating when he says he has "repeatedly" asked the government for rent-freezing powers. Back in 2018, he wrote in a leaked letter to Labour MP Karen Buck: "The housing crisis is now having such an effect on a generation of Londoners that the arguments in favour of rent stabilisation and control are becoming overwhelming." 
A year later, he officially launched plans for reforming private renting in London, which included a call for the government to give him rent-freezing powers. He pointed out that lessons could be learned from similar rent control schemes in New York and Berlin.
"The reality is this," he told Refinery29 at the time. "If you look at our city, from 1990 when 10% [of people] were renting privately, there are now 25% renting privately and because it will take us some time to build the homes we need, we've got to make sure [renting] is affordable for Londoners because what I've seen on a regular basis is Londoners leaving London because they can't afford to live here anymore."
Since then, the situation has only got worse, with Londoners on average spending almost 40% of their income on rent. Due to the widening gender rent gap, women are being squeezed especially hard. It's surely time for the government to start listening and finally put rent control on the table.

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