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This week in Bristol: The council wants your opinion on rent controls

In the news this week, the council is seeking residents’ views on rent controls as it plans to lobby the government for more powers.

Windows of a high-rise block, behind bold text saying 'rent controls'

Arvind Howarth – ACORN Bristol

This Week in Bristol

This week in Bristol, the council has launched a survey, the latest part of its Living Rent Commission, to find out what Bristolians think about rent controls. The survey allows Bristolians to respond to several different scenarios, for example: setting rents at 30% of the tenant’s income, capping annual rent increases to 3% a year, or freezing rents at their current levels.

Over the past decade, average rents in Bristol have grown by 52% while wages only increased by 24%.

But the council doesn’t currently have the power to change the law in this area. This survey will be analysed by researchers at the University of Bristol and used as part of the Living Rent Commission’s lobbying of the central government for the power to introduce rent controls. The Commission’s report is due to be published early next year.

Housing campaign group ACORN Bristol welcomed the public consultation. Its head organiser Ewan McLennan said: “At root [increasing rents are] being driven by the greed of landlords and letting agents who are intent on wringing every last penny out of their tenants. 

“This has to stop — and rent controls are an important part of this. The basic idea behind rent controls is pretty common sense: the needs of the community should be taken into account when thinking about rent, not just the interests of the landlord.”

However, when rent controls have been applied in cities around the world, they haven’t always been successful. You can read and listen to our latest solutions journalism investigation, a deep dive into rent controls to understand the complexities before taking the survey, which closes on December 29.

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Your Bristol news round-up ?️

❄️ Additional accommodation is being made available for rough sleepers in the city, as temperatures plunge for several consecutive nights. In partnership with homelessness charity St Mungo’s, the council activated the city’s ‘severe weather response’ for at least five nights from Wednesday 7 Dec, meaning “additional accommodation and support will be made available across the city so that nobody has to sleep on the streets during extreme weather”. Members of the public are being urged to encourage anyone they see rough sleeping in Bristol to call the St Mungo’s Outreach team on 0117 4070330.

? The Bristol Royal Infirmary’s A&E department could be moved to a newly built site after the current one was declared “not fit for purpose”. Staff flats and a car park on Marlborough Hill, adjacent to the current building, could be demolished to make way for a newly built department, after a report by healthcare infrastructure analysts Archus in December stated that the current one was now cramped to the point of being an “unsuitable environment” for emergency care.

✊ Uber drivers in Bristol have announced they will be going on strike for 24 hours as part of a week of app driver strikes around the UK. The App Drivers and Couriers Union confirmed the strike on Wednesday December 14, which takes place alongside a public demonstration outside  the city over pay, conditions, and Uber’s political influence and non-compliance in legal issues between the unions and the company.

A First Bus driver in Bristol has taken to Reddit to give an ‘insider account’ of the crisis at the company, claiming drivers are struggling to get to work due to cancelled bus services. The driver, posting under the username ‘BristolAnonymous’, says First is “out of touch” with the issues drivers face, a combination of “ungrateful individuals”, the use of overpaid agency staff “taking all the overtime”, and “non-existent” managers leading to drivers “as fed up as passengers”. The post triggered a 70-comment-long thread in the Bristol subreddit.

Bristol’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) could be scrapped completely if pollution falls below certain levels, the mayor has suggested. The mayor says the CAZ was forced upon the council after legislation from campaigners Client Earth, and that as soon as “compliant air” is achieved, the CAZ might “not be needed any more”. The CAZ came into force at the end of November, and has been criticised for a lack of provision, particularly for disabled people, and people on low incomes who can’t afford to upgrade their cars.

A heat pipe that would carry heat from an Avonmouth waste incinerator to homes in Bristol is an idea posed as part of the new City Leap plan to cut carbon emissions. The 12-mile underground pipe would carry heat from the industrial port area down through the north side of the city, ending in Old Market. At a council meeting, there was disagreement between councillors and representatives for the infrastructure companies involved about to what extent the idea would create or cut emissions.

⚖️ Two abattoir workers convicted of the “sadistic” murder and mutilation of two men in Easton are facing life sentences. Ionut-Valentin Boboc, 22, and Jacob-Bebe Chers, 46, were convicted of the 2021 stabbing deaths of Denzil McKenzie and Fahad Pramanik at Bristol Crown Court on December 7. McKenzie knew the men from work, but police say Fahad Pramanik was simply visiting McKenzie from London and was unknown to the defendants.

The latest Halifax House Price Index figures show the South West as the region with the sharpest slowing of growth in house prices. Due to inflation and rising interest rates, the average month-on-month growth in house prices in the region has dropped each month since the summer, although the average price paid was still more than 8% higher than this time last year.

⛔ Union leaders in Bristol have called for a boycott of the Portwall Tavern in Redcliffe, after the landlord refused to accept a Christmas party booking from rail workers. Landlord Andy Shaw told the workers the ongoing rail strike had badly affected his business, and is now accusing the boycotters of “bullying behaviour”.

The Voi e-scooter scheme has been extended into South Bristol to cover the majority of the city’s 60 square miles. Hartcliffe, Hengrove, Stockwood and Whitchurch, some of the most deprived and poorly connected areas of the city, are now among the areas of Bristol included in the scheme. The company says increased travel opportunities will enhance employment opportunities, alongside its discounts for users on low incomes.

Major plans to redevelop Bristol Parkway station have been revealed. The redesign will include a new main building, two new parks and a business hub, and aims to make the station more accessible by foot, bike and scooter, according to South Gloucestershire Council.

A mother who escaped the Twinnell House fire in September with her young son has been rehomed by the council in another local council house. Selma Muuse has not returned to Twinnell House since the fire, and says that after living in temporary accommodation for more than two months, and suffering with PTSD, she is ‘hugely relieved’. The council faced criticism from ITV West Country after a lack of clarity as to whether they would continue to pay for Muuse’s temporary accommodation.

Solutions and Successes ?

? Bristol’s Aid Box Community charity is selling Christmas trees to raise money for refugees. They hope their ‘Refutree’ scheme will raise thousands of pounds, giving the charity a much needed Christmas boost, after supporting almost 2,000 displaced people over the past year with practical help and a ‘befriending service’. You can buy a Christmas tree here.

Scientists at the University of Bristol have made a discovery that suggests lizards have existed for 35 million years longer than previously thought. A team of researchers took CT scans of fossilised reptile remains found in a storage cupboard at the Natural History Museum, which revealed features of the fossil that “shifts the origin and diversification of squamates back from the Middle Jurassic to the Late Triassic”. Dr David Whiteside who found the fossil in the store cupboard says it’s “likely to become one of the most important found in the last few decades”.

The Louisiana has announced it will be building a second stage after a funding injection of almost £5,000 from the Music Venue Trust. The owners of the venue, in operation since 1996 and housed in a 200-year old building near the harbourside, are seeking to host more events across its two floors, and have expressed support for more funding from large arena events to support smaller venues which “launch careers”.

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Report a comment. Comments are moderated according to our Comment Policy.

  • What’s better than rent control? A tax on vacant lots and unoccupied buildings. While rent control makes it less attractive to supply accommodation, a vacant-property tax makes it less attractive NOT to! Such a tax, although sometimes called a “vacancy tax”, is not limited to what real-estate agents call “vacancies” — that is, properties available for rent. It also applies to vacant lots and empty properties that are not on the rental market, and prompts the owners to get them habitable and occupied in order to avoid the tax.

    By the way, the desired *avoidance* of the vacant-property tax would increase economic activity, expanding the bases of other taxes and allowing their rates to be reduced, so that everyone else—including tenants, home owners, and landlords with tenants—would pay LESS tax!


  • If you want to reduce the rent you should reduce the interest rate and no tax on mortgage payments plus allow 10%wear and tear on rent payments +no council tax on vacant properties + Guarantee rent to the landlords + limited damages and repairs +landlords also pay building insurance central heating insurance
    At the moment in Bristol 3 bed room house is at least( £350000+ stump duty and mortgage fee ) interst rate is now 5.5% so the monthly mortgage is £1604 per month+ Vacant period + tax+building and heating insurance +repair’s damages+12% letting agent fee for management +I every 10 years you have to change the boiler and that cost you at least 5to6 thousands pounds
    There is lot of other expensive as well so please keep all these points in mind to fix the rent


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