Crawley councillor criticises 'greedy' private landlords 'robbing people all over this country'

Crawley councillors have argued that rent control should be introduced for private landlords.
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“They’re just greedy and they’re robbing people all over this country and it’s a disgrace,” was the emotional view of Labour’s Chris Mullins, Crawley Borough Council’s cabinet member for wellbeing, during a meeting of the full council on Wednesday (December 14).

Labour and Tory councillors agreed with Conservative leader Duncan Crow, that the government’s decision to cap social housing rent increases at 7 per cent was welcomed.

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But the discussion got rather lively after Mr Mullins called on the Tories to also support helping private tenants.

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Calling on councillors to ‘care about those private tenants who are getting ripped off’, Mr Mullins added: “Private landlords are charging for an ex-council house in Crawley something in excess of £1,500 a month.

“That’s a mind-blowing figure for people on ordinary wages.

“The vast majority of people who rent do so in the private market and they can’t afford to make ends meet.

“It’s a terrible situation for them.”

Brenda Burgess (Con, Three Bridges) agreed that private rents were ‘astronomical’ and said: “Somehow, somebody’s got to bite the bullet and do something about the private landlords.”

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But she pointed out that some of the councillors were themselves landlords and suggested they should start to reduce what they charged their tenants.

Bob Lanzer (Con, Pound Hill South & Worth) said he shared Mr Mullins’ concerns but felt that cracking down on irresponsible lending when it came to mortgages would be a better solution than rent control.

In October, the government published a document about the rent control debate.

It included suggestions from housing charity Shelter that Stable Rental Contracts – which protect tenants from eviction for five years and place a limit on rent increases – should be introduced.

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Campaign group Generation Rent called for monthly maximum rents amounting to half of the annual council tax band for a home.

There was ‘substantial opposition’ from landlords, though, who argued that market intervention would lead to homes being withdrawn and less investment when it came to their upkeep.

The cost of living has been the biggest issue in 2022 as prices and bills continue to rise.