Fair Rent Controls

March 7, 2018

 

 

Rent controls were maintained by Labour, Conservative and Liberal governments for most the last century and served important roles in maintaining the integrity and security of families and communities. The current chaotic system needs regulation, with better financial and legal protections for renters.

 

The abandonment of rent controls from the 80s onwards was part of a wider trend of casting off restraints on the housing market and the reduction of housing policy to one of base monetisation. The social implications of this quite serious change of policy were never considered, and left vulnerable working-class communities even more exposed to pressures from gentrification, immigration and de-industrialisation.

 

It contributed to the decline of traditional communities where people knew each other, generations lived close together and people would often settle down in the same area they grew up in. This social cohesion is one of the main reasons why people used to be able to leave the doors unlocked and knew their kids would be safe playing in the street. If a window was smashed, people would quickly find out who it was. There was a sense of order and closeness and respect between residents, many of whom would have grown up in the area together.

The loss of this sense of community was not 'inevitable' nor is it somehow 'regressive' to wish to restore it. It was maintained by sensible housing and social policy including rent controls, and can be restored at least to some degree by bringing those same sensible policies back.

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