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10th October 2019

Report calls for rent caps in Manchester

The study found that young renters were most affected by rising house prices, with some cutting down on essential living costs to be able to pay rent
Report calls for rent caps in Manchester
Photo: Albert Bridge @Geograph

The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has called for the introduction of rent “pressure zones” – a form of rent cap – in Greater Manchester.

It says house prices in Manchester have quadrupled over the last 20 years, alongside a steady climb in rents, with the cost in the city centre now reaching £1,000 a month.

In collaboration with housing association One Manchester, the study found young renters are those most affected by the rise in prices.

The RSA said 48% of young renters across the area have had to cut back on living essentials in order to afford housing. In other areas across England this number is 33%.

The study also showed an increase in the number of jobs in the ‘gig economy’ amongst young people, including Deliveroo riders and Uber drivers. In the past five years, half of the jobs created in Manchester have been ‘flexible contracts’. The report describes this growing area of work as ‘highly volatile’, leading to issues with rental checks and mortgages.

Report author and senior researcher at the RSA, Hannah Webster, said: “A new Greater Manchester housing devolution deal should give mayors and councils Scottish-style powers to cap runaway rents in areas like central Manchester.”

She added: “Young people are being failed by our current housing system – and this is particularly true in Manchester.”

But the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is against rent caps.

RLA policy manager John Stewart said: “Rent controls are on the face of it an attractive but simplistic and populist approach to the increased cost of housing. In reality, they make the situation for tenants worse. All the evidence from around the world where they have been introduced shows that they reduce supply and drive up the cost of housing.

“Having controls on rent is not much help to a person who cannot find somewhere to live because of the cut in the number of properties available. Instead, the Mayor of Greater Manchester needs to work with the private rented sector on how to boost the supply of homes for rent to meet ever-growing demand.”

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