How do other countries make rents reasonable?

Around the world, there are two main types of reasonable rent rules: rules about the amount of rent a landlord is allowed to ask for, and rules about how much rents can be increased.

London’s mayor is proposing to limit rent increases in the short term, while an independent Rent Commission is established to design a system for long-term rent affordability.

In Ireland and Scotland, the Government has declared Rent Pressure Zones. Landlords inside these zones can only increase rents by four percent a year in Ireland and by inflation plus one percent in Scotland.

California takes a similar approach: annual rent increases cannot be more than five percent plus local inflation. Most Canadian provinces also restrict annual rent increases to a certain percentage, which varies between provinces.

In Sweden, groups representing tenants and landlords negotiate rent increases that apply to around 500,000 homes. If they can’t agree, an independent government agency sets fair rent standards for homes based on things like size, location, and features.

The Netherlands has a similar system, where rental properties are allocated points for things like size, condition, facilities, and distance from transport links, shops, and schools. The number of points determines the maximum rent allowed.

New York has a Rent Guidelines Board which sets annual rent adjustments for some apartments. The Board is made up of two landlord representatives, two tenant representatives, and five members representing the public.

Malta caps rents at two percent of the market value of a property.

When rents started rising rapidly, Berlin froze the rents of properties more than five years old at their 2019 level for five years. Conservative political parties challenged this and the courts have recently overturned the rent freeze.

In France, rents are capped at no more than 20 percent more than the “reference median rent” for similar properties.

Several countries have exemptions or different rules for newly built rental properties, to encourage developers to build more homes.