Rent controls urged to help turn tide on 'spiral of decline' in seaside towns

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Rent controls could help to trigger a renaissance of Britain's seaside towns, a report argues.

The Housing and Finance Institute said dysfunctional housing markets are at the heart of a "spiral of decline" in many coastal communities.

It argues that tenants and taxpayers are often overpaying for housing which is not worth the rent being charged.

The institute proposes there should be new time-limited and localised rent controls in the poorest coastal communities.

It suggests that a locally assessed fair value rent could be set, reflecting a property's location and quality.

The institute is also calling for greater support from central government for councils which have communities with pockets of local failed housebuilding markets.

It also said a "one-stop shop" should be created to make it easier for councils to take action against rogue landlords and drive up housing standards.

The one-stop shop would group together processes whereby councils take action on housing quality, planning, new housing, growth and tenancy management.

Natalie Elphicke, chief executive of the Housing and Finance Institute, said: "Dysfunctional housing markets are proving fundamental to the spiral of decline in many of Britain's coastal communities - and something radical must be done to turn the tide.

"The proposals in this paper can help to break up the concentration of housing poverty and attract new high-quality building and investment. Housing can be pivotal to securing jobs, growth and reversing entrenched deprivation."

The Housing and Finance Institute was unveiled in the March 2015 Budget. It supports councils and businesses delivering homes.

Figures from the Insolvency Service have shown that, across England and Wales, many seaside towns are particularly likely to have relatively high rates of people going financially insolvent.

In 2015, Scarborough, Plymouth and Blackpool were among the top 10 areas with the highest personal insolvency rates, according to the Insolvency Service's data.