The city's council has voted through a motion to tackle rising rents with a range of measures designed to "empower" tenants. As part of its action plan, it will ask the Westminster government for the authority to implement rent controls.
Over the last decade, private rents in Bristol have increased by 52%, the council notes on its website, while wages have only risen by 24%.
Councillor Tom Renhard told The Big Issue: "We now want powers to be devolved to us to implement rent controls. If we don't get the powers, we’re going to have a worsening of the current situation."
He said that as a result of rising rents, "people don’t want to come to Bristol anymore and we’re going to see a wider impact on the city itself" if nothing is done.
Amy Cullum of tenants' rights group Acorn said the situation in Bristol is being watched closely by councils in other parts of the country. She added: "We call on other councils to follow suit and to lobby for housing decisions to be devolved, so local councils have the power to implement rent controls."
At present, no council in the UK has the authority to impose rent controls. But given that rents in the UK rose on average by 12% last year, it seems likely that many will be giving the idea serious thought.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has repeatedly lobbied the Westminster government for the power to impose a rent freeze, but to no avail.
At present, the situation for tenants is better in Scotland than in other parts of the UK. Last year, with the cost of living crisis intensifying, the Scottish government passed an emergency bill to freeze rents completely and ban evictions except in very limited circumstances.
It has since announced that from 1st April, landlords in Scotland will be allowed to increase rents again but only by a maximum of 3% in a further effort to protect tenants.