City Hall’s Conservatives are calling for Sadiq Khan to drop his rent control policy, after new analysis this week showed similar measures depleted Berlin’s supply of new flats.
The new study showed the supply of rental apartments fell by 41 per cent while demand soared by 172 per cent within a year of Berlin’s rent freeze.
Other German cities without the new rule saw the number of rental apartments increase by 35 per cent.
Khan launched his re-election campaign earlier this year, before the election was postponed until next year, by calling for Boris Johnson to devolve powers to City Hall in order for the mayor to implement rent controls.
London’s deputy mayor for housing Tom Copley has also been an advocate for capping rents in the capital and has painted Berlin as an example of a model for City Hall to follow.
Last year he tweeted that the policy had “worked well” in the German capital.
The Conservatives’ Greater London Authority housing spokesman Andrew Boff said rent controls “have never worked anywhere in the world” and that Khan should ditch his push to implement them.
“But in case there was any doubt, Berlin’s disastrous experience is yet another example of rent controls backfiring on a city,” he said.
“Instead of playing a dangerous populist game with rent controls, Sadiq Khan needs to focus on building the homes Londoners desperately need.
“Wherever this failed socialist idea has been tried property standards and rental stock has plummeted.”
A London Labour spokesperson accused the Conservatives of wanting rents to be more expensive in the capital.
“Sadiq makes no apologies whatsoever for standing up for renters in London by trying to make renting more affordable and secure,” they said.
“The Tories clearly want renting to be more expensive and London’s 2.6m renters should remember that when deciding how to vote at the mayoral election next May.”
Rents have risen by 27 per cent for the capital’s 2.6m renters since 2010.
To combat the problem of housing affordability, the mayor advocates creating a private rental commission to implement and oversee rent controls and to establish a register of landlords to “name and shame rogue landlords”.
Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing at the National Federation of Builders’s House Building Association, said when Khan launched his campaign that a cap on rents could hurt the construction industry.
“[House builders] with projects in the pipeline could suffer, as rent caps may push down land prices, leaving many who have already purchased land, with unviable projects,” he said.