Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer will reject London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s calls for rent freeze powers in the UK capital, where new lease payments rose 17 percent last year, according to research. .

Khan has advocated for rent controls since he was elected to the Labor Council in 2016 and said in a speech on Monday that he would continue to “fight tenant corners.” However, he lacks the authority to implement them and his demands have so far been rejected by the UK’s Conservative government.

With opinion polls suggesting a victory in Labor’s general election next year, Khan stepped up his calls for power to introduce a rent control system that would allow him to “give tenants a much-needed breather”.

Labor said Khan had carried out “pioneering work” on affordable housing and increased tenant protection. But senior party officials told the Financial Times that Starmer’s office was not exploring the introduction of national rent controls or devolution of related powers to mayors if they were elected.

The admission marks a new break by Starmer with the policies of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, who backed Khan’s proposals, and comes as Labor and Conservative plans to tackle Britain’s housing crisis come under increased scrutiny.

London rents for newly let properties rose 17.2 percent in the year to April, according to data from the Hamptons estate agency on Monday, with the capital’s median monthly rent topping £2,200 for the first time.

To curb price escalation, Khan has proposed a “rent control commission.” Bringing tenants and landlords together, he would use a new registry of landlords and rents to determine how existing rents should be phased down and place limits on rent increases between leases.

Scotland it already limits rent increases in the private sector to 3 percent per year. Although the cap expires in September, the ruling Scottish National Party has said it will extend it if necessary.

Dan Wilson Craw, acting director of the campaign group Generation Rent, said tenants in the rest of the UK “badly” needed rent freezes to protect them from property prices, but they also called for more housing to be built.

“We haven’t been building enough houses in the areas where people want to live,” he said. “We don’t build enough social rental housing, which is the only way low-income people can afford to stay where they grew up.”

Housing Secretary Michael Gove is about to publish a tenant reform bill, first promised in the 2019 Tory manifesto, that will abolish section 21 or “no-fault” evictions that allow landlords to evict tenants in England on eight weeks’ notice without any explanation.

However, real estate industry groups say caps on rent increases discourage investment and reduce home construction. Last month, the Scottish Property Federation saying The SNP’s rent control measures discouraged investors from backing new projects and led them to “divert capital elsewhere”.

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