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What can governments do to keep rents low?

Discussion in 'UK politics, current affairs and news' started by ska invita, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. ska invita

    ska invita yes yes

    I guess Im thinking of private landlords here in particular...
  2. Fruitloop

    Fruitloop communism will win

    Build houses.

    ETA: decent ones, in areas that people want to live.
  3. mentalchik

    mentalchik far too big for her boots

    It's not just private landlords though........

    my HA rent has gone up 25% in 5 years and is £60 short of half my monthly take home pay.............

    i know it's still short of private rentals but still a huge worry for me
    Captain Hurrah likes this.
  4. articul8

    articul8 Guilty of Idealism

    Can they not have set a maximum cap for private rental charges (by council-tax band levels or something)?
    junglevip and Greebo like this.
  5. marty21

    marty21 my gran was in the war with bombs and shit

    They could bring in a new version of the Fair rent which existed until 1989 (and still exists for those tenants who have privately rented since before 1989) how it worked before was that a private tenant applied ot have their rent set by a rent officer employed by the council - and the landlord could not charge more - the rents were then increased every 2 years by the rent officer

    jittery landlords might be convinced to reduce the rent just by the threat of a fair rent application -
    shagnasty, oryx, articul8 and 3 others like this.
  6. mr steev

    mr steev unkempt clacker

    The problem with that is that properties in the same council tax band can still vary massively. There's also nothing to stop landlords still charging rents reaching up to the cap for properties that are not worth it.
    The Fair Rent thing Marty mentions is a better idea
  7. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Do govts want to keep rents low? The question surely is what we can do to impose low rents on landlords of all types and how we can do it?
  8. marty21

    marty21 my gran was in the war with bombs and shit

    introducing HB caps is an attempt to keep rents low - trouble is Landlords don't have to reduce the rent - they need to be compelled by law - and this government isn't interested in doing that.
    Greebo likes this.
  9. spring-peeper

    spring-peeper Well-Known Member

    What can governments do to keep rents low?

    Impose rent controls so that landlords can only raise the rent the legislated amount.

    How do you get them to lower them?

    You can't.
  10. fredfelt

    fredfelt Mostly unknown member

    The rise in house prices followed mortgages becoming available to 'ordinary people' in the early 80's. As the supply of money for people to buy property greatly increased house prices - and therefore rents shot up.

    If rents are to fall the root cause of high property prices needs to be tackled.
    shagnasty likes this.
  11. ska invita

    ska invita yes yes

    IIRC council tax bands are way out of date - houses listed at say 70k in London are now 300k - I think New Labour threatened to reassess the bands, but the predicted hike on council tax was seen as too unpopular to carry out
    that sounds interesting - will read up


    Hard to know what governments want or not... from their perspective lower rents would stimulate the economy - I dont think recessions are a big vote winner.

    Do you have any thoughts on how we can impose low rents on landlords? My experience of landlords (commercial and domestic) is they are quite happy to kick people out and leave properties empty on the hope of a bigger rent.

    it seems to me that the financial crisis, and realted no safe haven for capital, hence investing in property and inflating property prices, is another big factor. Dont see that one being sorted out any time soon
  12. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Well, the govt isn't there to do anything but represent a certain section of capital and further their interests, they don't act in the general interest (if they did they wouldn't have gone down the austerity route) - amongst those interests are landlords (large and small - the upwardly mobile BTL type is a key component of their electoral coalition). Lowering rents wouldn't release any extra-spending power, it would just re-distribute some from landlords to tenants who are more likely to pay off debts or save right now anyway.

    The key first step is to start to think collectively - in terms of collective action rather then facing landlords alone. This can be done on a territorial basis or by targeting landlords who own multiple properties (institutional or private). Of course, easier said than done and like organising the unemployed, you're intervening in an atomised area with real risks and dangers for those prepared to put their heads above the parapets. But what other option is there?
    shagnasty and el-ahrairah like this.
  13. ska invita

    ska invita yes yes

    I disagree with you on that - consumer spending is low in part as peoples wages get sucked up on rent and utilities - lower rents would leave cash in the pocket - but lets leave that aside as its a bit of a derail

    Where i live we have a parade of shops, the majority of which is owned by 1 private landlord. The landlord keeps hiking up the price, shops shut and often stay vacant for long periods - a real shame as there have been good local businesses squeezed out.

    There's a lot of community organisation/groups around here, and good potential for collective action (not that atomised compared to other places) - but what demands/actions can be made? What cards can be played against him? If there is a way there must be some (successful) precedent on this....
    Greebo likes this.
  14. Corax

    Corax This will change your life: http://bit.ly/19lPFRa

    Quite. Simply supply & demand innit.
  15. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    What powers do workers have over the bosses? What tool can tenants use against landlords - refusal to pay, occupations, interfering with their normal operations. Demands - the obvious, lower rent, better facilities and upkeep, no evictions, less demanding contracts and so on. Plenty of successful rent strikes throughout history
  16. revol68

    revol68 what, fucking what?

    Lowering rents would release spending power to struggling sectors of the economy, retail etc though, but as you say the government is in the grip of landlords and the financial sector, so they aren't going to do that, landlords are more likely to put their money in a bank or some other financial products than a some peasant tenant who'll only waste it on food, clothes or maybe even a few pints.
    shagnasty and SpookyFrank like this.
  17. mr steev

    mr steev unkempt clacker

    Judging by what seems to be happening around here is that new flats are built, go on sale, sit empty for a while and then are all bought up by estate agent who rent them out at ridiculous rents
  18. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Money in tenants pockets is likely to go to paying off debts or saved under current conditions i think. Landlords are more likely to spend it or put to some productive use.
  19. Corax

    Corax This will change your life: http://bit.ly/19lPFRa

    Same round here. But people who want a small patch of outdoor space, because they have kids for example, are totally stuffed. In response, they're urgently building... more flats.
    Greebo likes this.
  20. revol68

    revol68 what, fucking what?

    I dunno, maybe I'm guilty of generalising me and my friends feckless way with money.
  21. Meltingpot

    Meltingpot On hiatus

    Depends on the landlord though Butch. You're taking a risk if you take on someone like Hoogstraten in that way;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_van_Hoogstraten

    From what I was once told by someone who lived in Brighton (his home patch), if you tried a rent strike with him you'd probably get your legs broken. Not saying don't do it, but be aware of whom you're dealing with.
    Greebo likes this.
  22. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    I've had loads of mates who had trouble with him - leading up to a pretty violent invasion of his country house at the time (over 10 years ago now). That's what i meant by real risks and dangers that make organising in this area very difficult.
    Greebo likes this.
  23. krink

    krink I'll do it this afternoon

    That's true for me - our council sold the housing stock to a HA and now our rent is not far off the private level for a similar property except we had to buy carpets, furniture, decorate - most the private ones are already furnished and decorated.

    The only way to get round it would be to build lots more social housing or cap the rent charged (the former is better though). Can't see either happening, though.
  24. krink

    krink I'll do it this afternoon

    I know of some in the past but has there been any in modern times/societies where, even in the working class, home ownership is increasingly the norm and the numbers of people who rent has been reduced to (mostly) just the very poorest? I think rent strikes would be difficult to stage in my area when most of the people who rent don't pay rent as such, the council pays it via housing benefit (me included).
    Greebo likes this.
  25. articul8

    articul8 Guilty of Idealism

    Both would be electorally popular - but particularly the rent cap, which could help lots of working people on low/moderate incomes AND help cut the housing benefit bill. Buy to let landlords are not only numerically few but also disproportionately Tory I would have guessed. Clearly I'd support any rent strikes and attempts to take the initiative directly. But this is exactly the sort of area where Labour could be pushed to the left in significant ways.
  26. Fruitloop

    Fruitloop communism will win

    They would be electoral suicide, no? That's why they'll never happen.
  27. marty21

    marty21 my gran was in the war with bombs and shit

    it's easier to arrange a rent strike if it is against one landlord, say a council or housing association , but if you are a sole tenant of one landlord, or one of 3 or 4 - it does get more difficult and more risky for the tenant or tenants involved
  28. BigTom

    BigTom Well-Known Member

    Where we are talking about commercial landlords, especially residential ones, with high street shops, then picketing the shops would also be a viable tactic, they wouldn't be happy about the impact on their business.

    I think this has been done by SolFed recently somewhere that got an agency to drop admin fees, and have some vague memories of people somewhere organising using SeaSol as a model, though my memory might not be right on that organisation.
    krink likes this.
  29. krink

    krink I'll do it this afternoon

    As well as claiming housing benefit I also administer it and I can confirm these type of 'super' private landlords are becoming more frequent, particularly as agents for individual landlords. This type of 'umbrella' landlord might actually make it easier for tenants to act together - the tenants might have different individual landlords but they all have the same managing agent.
    BigTom likes this.
  30. articul8

    articul8 Guilty of Idealism

    Why would it? It would be popular and directly beneficial to hundreds of thousands of voters.

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