Wednesday, 18 April 2018
I do not see how a rent freeze would work. We have brought forward rent certainty and rent controls which ensure nobody in most of the country - 60% of people are now covered by rent pressure zones - will faces a rent increase of more than 4% in any given year. I have demonstrated how that is having an effect, with the average increase in the last quarter being just over 1.1%. It is not quite a rent freeze, but it is an increase of in the region of 4%. There are uplifts when it comes to the housing assistance payment, HAP. If somebody is facing homelessness, an uplift of between 20% and 50% can be provided for to make sure the person can afford to pay the rent. We have a HAP finder to assist people in finding available properties. The real problem both for people who want to buy houses, including their first home, and those who need to rent is the lack of supply. The Deputy's solutions would make the position much worse with the Government coming in and setting rents in particular areas and slashing them. Fewer people would then be willing to let properties. Fewer people would be willing to buy properties, with a view to letting them. Loads of people, particularly accidental landlords who are just about getting by and for whom the rent is just about covering the mortgage, would be placed in arrears and the position would be made much worse.