Calls for Bristol to bring in rent controls as housing costs become ‘unaffordable’

The cost of privately renting a home in the city has increased by more than 50 per cent over the past decade

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Rent controls could soon be needed in Bristol to stop housing costs becoming “increasingly unaffordable”, according to Labour councillors.

Bristol City Council will face a vote next week on potentially bringing in rent controls, despite not yet having the legal powers to do so.

Just under a third of homes in Bristol are privately rented, according to council figures, and the cost of privately renting a home in the city has increased by more than 50 per cent over the past decade.

Rocketing rents are also considered a huge factor in the increase of homelessness.

Council chiefs are lobbying the government to change the law, giving them the power to potentially introduce rent controls. This would see tenants protected from their landlords increasing rents, with caps possibly linked to inflation or average local wages.

Next week Labour will try to garner cross-party support for their calls for rent controls in Bristol.

Councillor Tom Renhard, cabinet member for housing, has put forward a motion on rent controls and protections for tenants, at a full council meeting on Tuesday, January 10.

The motion said: “Rent controls are needed in Bristol to stop homes in the private rented sector becoming increasingly unaffordable.

Landlord licensing schemes are an effective tool to improve conditions in the private rented sector, and these schemes should be expanded city-wide.

“Further action is needed to protect private renters and ensure their homes are not in poor condition. Private renters are less likely to complain about problems with their homes if they face the threat of losing it as a result.”

A panel of experts was set up last year by the council to explore rent controls and other potential solutions to Bristol’s housing crisis.

The Living Rent Commission is expected to report its findings early this year, and will be used as Bristol’s response to the Renters’ Reform white paper, which will most likely lead to major changes in the law on renting.

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