Land Securities slams Labour’s rent policy plan

Kasmira Jefford
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LABOUR’S plans to overhaul the private rented sector would “put the brakes” on the housing market recovery, the chief executive of Land Securities has warned as the UK’s largest landlord reported a near 10 per cent uplift in profits.

Rob Noel, the boss of the £12bn property firm whose developments include the Walkie Talkie skyscraper, said: “Rent control would put the brakes on residential development which as you know is desperately required.”

He added the uncertainty over the outcome of the general elections and any new regulations imposed could deter investors: “Anything that damages Britain’s well earned reputation of openness would not be good.”

Land Securities enjoyed a 9.9 per cent rise in revenue profit to £319.6m in the year to 31 March while pre-tax profits doubled from £533m to £1.1bn. The value of its properties rose 7.1 per cent to £11.9bn and net asset value per share was up 12 per cent to 1,013p.

The Walkie Talkie tower at 20 Fenchurch Street is now 87 per cent let after signing up two new tenants this month. The firm confirmed that it had received planning permission for a permanent sun shade for the building – dubbed the Walkie Scorchie – installed after strong sun last summer bounced off its windows and damaged cars and buildings caught in its rays.

Noel also said that rising construction costs and competition from rivals meant any schemes beyond 2016 will not be built without pre-lets in place.