Would rent controls work in Bournemouth?

News at Homes & Steeple | 13/02/2023

Rent control is a policy that aims to protect tenants from excessive rent increases and unpredictable evictions. Low-income renters are particularly vulnerable to rent increases and need this protection. Increasingly, rent control has become a popular solution to the issue of a lack of available property in towns such as Bournemouth. Nevertheless, rent control is only a short-term solution that has detrimental economic consequences and does not address the fundamental drivers of the shortage of available property.

Rent control has been demonstrated to be effective in the short-term but it does not address the underlying causes of the shortage of property and is likely to have a negative effect on the quality of the housing stock in the medium to long-term. Rent control creates a disincentive to invest in the housing market, resulting in a lack of new housing supply, while existing housing may be neglected or not maintained to the appropriate standards. Furthermore, rent control can lead to a decrease in the amount of housing available, as some landlords may decide to leave the market entirely.

The most effective way to address the shortage of available property in Bournemouth is to increase the supply of housing. This can be accomplished by building more housing, improving public transportation to reduce commute times, and encouraging investment in the housing market through tax incentives and subsidies.

Moreover, if the current housing stock is not already affordable for the most vulnerable residents in Bournemouth, BCP council should consider increasing the local housing allowance, to make sure that no one is priced out of an adequate and safe home.

Rent control can have a limited impact on the housing market and it is not the best way to solve the shortage of available property in Bournemouth. It is a short-term solution that does not address the underlying drivers of the shortage, instead creating a disincentive for investment. Instead, the city should focus on increasing the housing supply by building more housing, and providing subsidies or grants for those who are most vulnerable.

 Investing in these strategies will ensure that everyone in Bournemouth has access to safe, adequate, and affordable housing.