‘Capped rents’ being considered for Bristol as cost of living crisis deepens

Rents have spiralled ‘out of control’, with locals being forced out of the city

With the cost of rent rising twice as fast wages in Bristol, ‘capped rents’ are being considered in futher moves to tackle the city’s deepening housing crisis.

‘Rent control’ and changes to enforcement powers are some of the ideas to hel tackle Bristol’s deepening rent crisis that will be put forward by Bristol City Council during a ‘renters summit’ on Wednesday, March 2.

The online summit will open with a speech from Mayor Marvin Rees who will outline the current situation in Bristol, while renters will have the opportunity to share their own experiences of the rental market.

There are over 134,000 people currently renting privately in Bristol, representing almost one-third of the population.

But private rents in Bristol have increased by 52% in the past 10 years, while wages have risen by just 24%.

On average, Bristol residents now need to spend almost nine times their annual salary to buy a house, while some face being evicted from their homes.

BristolWorld searched two-bed homes up for rent in the city on RightMove, and found the cheapest in Redland was £1,100, in Bedminster £1,100 and in Cotham £1,300.

Councillor Tom Renhard, Cabinet member for Housing Delivery and Homes, said the city was facing a rent crisis due to ever-increasing rents, no-fault evictions and demand exceeding supply.

A cap on rents in Bristol could be introduced in order to tackle the city’s rent crisis.

“There are some homes that are not even fit for habitation in a private rented sector where tenants can struggle to enforce the few rights they have,” he added.

“Bristol rents are out of control and the renting system is not fair, stable or safe.

“Unaffordable private rents are deepening inequality, as people on lower incomes are at growing risk of homelessness and many are being forced out of the city.

“It’s time for a reset in the relationship and for the national government to give us the powers we need locally to properly regulate privately rented housing.

“We are asking renters across the city to join us to share their experiences, shape the discussion on enforcement and hear about different models of what a living rent for Bristol could look like if we had the power to introduce rent controls.”

The summit will aim to start a conversation about what rent control for the city could look like, reviewing examples of how it has proven to be effective in other countries.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: “The national housing crisis poses big challenges for our city and tackling it remains one of the council’s top priorities.

“As well as accelerating the building of affordable housing across Bristol, we are currently strengthening our powers to tackle rogue landlords, and we have invested £42 million in improving the energy efficiency of our council homes.

“I made a manifesto commitment to campaign for the power to introduce rent controls to make Bristol an affordable living city, and we are calling on government to give us the power to regulate rents.

“Piloting rent control in Bristol will allow us to take a step towards tackling our local renting crisis and will help us develop learnings and that can inform wider positive change for the rest of the city.”

The summit will take place on Wednesday, March 2 between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Tickets can be booked online.