Government subsidies help more than 300,000 households pay their rent – mostly through the Accommodation Supplement – and this number is rising. These tenancies are individual agreements between landlords and renters, meaning individual renter households don’t have much power to negotiate. The Government could group together renters who receive the Accommodation Supplement, and negotiate as a collective with landlords to set reasonable standard rents in different areas. Because so many renting households receive the Accommodation Supplement, their collective power could help influence market rents for everyone else too.
An alternative approach would be for the Government to develop a collective bargaining framework for tenants who use the same property management company, to negotiate rents and/or rent increases as a collective. This could lead to the development of tenants unions, which exist in some other countries like Sweden.