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An Early Days Motion tabled by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has called on the UK government to establish a national system of rent controls to address the increasingly huge costs of renting in England. 

Eight MPs have signed the motion so far which calls on the government to set up a Living Rent Commission, tasked with consultation on and designing a national rent control system with local flexibility and to provide powers to local councils to control rents in high rent areas.

The motion highlights how tenants in private accommodation in England are forced to pay out more for housing than our European counterparts where rights for renters are stronger, and therefore urges the UK government to follow suit and provide better protection for private renters. 

It comes as rents in the UK are rising at the highest rate in decades, increasing by 9.2% in the 12 months to March 2024 according to the ONS, highlighting the ongoing affordability crisis. 

The motion recognises the “huge cost of private rents in England and increase in private rents since private tenancies were deregulated and section 21 no-fault evictions were introduced under the Housing Act 1988”.

Furthermore the motion highlights a 50% rise in homelessness within one year as a result of no-fault evictions and how English councils spent £1.7bn on temporary accommodation last year. 

To tackle the crisis, the motion states, “rent controls must be implemented gradually and fairly alongside a suite of policies to give renters security of tenure and to address the housing supply crisis, including a mass programme of zero-carbon social homes”.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has already been issued two mock eviction notices in the space of a week by campaigners furious at the delays to rental reforms promised over five years ago by the government. 

New research published just today found that 40% of renters in England who moved home over the past 12 months were forced to do so, at the cost of half a billion pounds. Providing further evidence of the constant instability and financial struggle renters face in this country. 

As well as Caroline Lucas from the Greens, six Labour MPs have signed the motion for rent controls including; Nadia Whittome, Rachael Maskell, Grahame Morris, Mohammad Yasin, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Lloyd Russell-Moyle along with independent MP Jonathan Edwards.

(Image credit: UK Parliament – Creative Commons)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

The post Caroline Lucas tables Early Day Motion calling for rent controls in England appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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