The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has published his Draft London Housing Strategy that aims to tackle the capital’s housing crisis.
This Strategy has five key areas:
- Building more homes for Londoners
- Delivering genuinely affordable homes
- High quality homes and inclusive neighbourhoods
- A fairer deal for private renters and leaseholders
- Tackling homelessness and helping rough sleepers
The publication of the draft commences a 3 month consultation process where Londoners can give their input into the strategy.
“A Fairer Deal for Private Renters”
The Mayor recognises that the vast majority of landlords are offering a good service to their tenants and that additional financial and regulatory burdens, including restrictions on mortgage interest relief, have pushed up landlords’ costs.
The strategy also acknowledges that the private rented sector (PRS) is by far the easiest type of housing to move to or from and has a “critical role in ensuring London remains open to those who are new to our city.”
The Mayor’s aim with this Housing Strategy is to ensure the PRS “offers stability to tenants who want it, with lower costs and decent standards across the board.” To achieve this the Mayor has outlined a number of policy proposals, detailed below:
- The Mayor will encourage consistently good standards in London’s private rented sector by enabling councils to make better use of their powers. This will include:
- support for greater collaboration between councils through a new London Boroughs’ Private Rented Sector Partnership;
- working to make best use of new regulatory powers, including for short term lettings operators; and
- opposing the discriminatory Right to Rent policy.
- The Mayor will work with councils and Government to target enforcement resources against the minority of poor quality and criminal landlords. This will include:
- providing strong support for well-designed and operated council licensing schemes, including calling for devolution of powers over such schemes to the Mayor;
- supporting calls to establish a light touch landlord registration scheme; and
- introducing a London-wide public database to ‘name and shame’ landlords and letting agents who have acted unlawfully.
Improving Affordability and Security
- The Mayor will explore options for a new deal that offers tenants greater stability and helps to protect the rights of landlords. This will include:
- working with landlord representative bodies and groups representing tenants to explore options for a ‘London Model’ of reform for tenants and landlords; and
- considering reforms that enhance security of tenure for renters, reduce discrimination, improve the evictions process and dispute resolution, and ensure landlords retain their right to gain possession of the property for legitimate reasons.
- The Mayor will work with Government, councils, and employers to address upfront costs and fees that private renters are forced to pay. This will include:
- supporting the proposed ban on letting agent fees and lobbying Government to ensure its enforcement is properly resourced; and
- working with employers to widen access to Tenancy Deposit Loan schemes to help renters manage the upfront costs of renting, along with other incentives to help with employees’ housing costs.
- The Mayor supports measures that would limit unacceptable rent increases without negatively impacting on housing supply, and he will work with Government to address long term affordability for London’s renters. This will include:
- urging Government to comprehensively review the financial support available to private renters on low and middle incomes; and
- when combined with tenancy reform, properly resourcing the First-tier Tribunal system so it becomes a check and balance when landlords increase rents.