Landlords complain rent controls in Labour-Plaid deal will force them to ‘sell up’
Landlords are complaining a plan to establish rent controls in Wales will force them to “sell up” their properties.
Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru recently unveiled a wide-ranging cooperation agreement that includes a series of measures to tackle housing crisis in Wales.
There is a commitment to taking ”immediate and radical action” to tackle the number of second homes in Wales and to make housing more affordable.
The steps include moves to establish rent controls, “using the planning, property and taxation systems” to cap second homes and greater powers for local authorities to increase taxes on second homes.
They have come up with the plan in response rocketing house prices and an increase in second homes, which means many young people cannot afford to get on the property ladder.
Gillian Owens, 65, who has a portfolio of seven buy-to-lets, six of which are in Wales, has hit out at the plan.
She told The Telegraph: “Rent controls drive perverse activity. They will just drive landlords out of the market,” said Mrs Owens. “We have talked about starting to sell up, slowly but surely.”
They say that once the Welsh Government introduces rent controls they plan to sell one property per year, to avoid a large capital gains tax bill.
Another landlord in Wales, Ros Beck, 56, has argued that rent controls are a counterproductive measure because landlords would rush to raise rents before the new rules come into force.
He said: “I haven’t put my rents up for two years, but when the deal was announced, one of my landlord friends said ‘get your rents up quick’ to me.”
Ben Beadle, of the National Residential Landlords Association, a lobby group for landlords, said: “A government may legislate to cap rents, but if landlords’ costs continue to rise they will be forced to withdraw from the market.”
“It is frustrating that rather than look for solutions which encourage the increased supply of homes, politicians are looking to scapegoat landlords as the cause of the rising cost of living.”