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Welsh government eyeing rent controls

The Welsh government is considering introducing rent controls after launching a ‘fair rents and adequate housing’ consultation.

Rents could be controlled via a ceiling or freeze, limiting annual rent increases to predetermined percentages, only increasing rents when tenants leave, or just allowing an increase when properties are newly advertised. Landlords could also be restricted on the yields they could make.

The consultation will ask those within the private rented sector about affordability, supply and demand and what constitutes ‘fair rent’.

Julie James, housing minister, said: “I am committed to using all the levers we have to ensure we maintain a viable private rented sector here in Wales, offering high quality and choice of accommodation, where landlords have confidence to invest in making improvements and tenants have greater certainty that longer term costs of moving into or staying in a rental property will be affordable.”

The National Residential Landlords Association is urging landlords with properties in Wales to get involved in the discussion.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: “Let’s be clear, rent controls would serve only to decimate the sector further and would be a disaster for tenants, when so many are already struggling to find a place to rent.

“We all want to see more homes available to rent but adopting the tried and failed ideology of rent controls is not the way to do it.

“The best way is to introduce pro-growth measures to increase housing supply that will reduce costs for renters.

“Now is the time for landlords to get involved and for the Welsh government listen carefully to the views of those providing much needed homes.”