News

Consultation underway on draft London Housing Strategy

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A 3-month consultation is underway on the Mayor’s draft London Housing Strategy which seeks to address London’s housing crisis.

The strategy includes a particular focus on the private rented sector where the Mayor wants to improve life for London’s two million private renters.

A quarter of all London’s households live in the private rented sector, including 580,000 children - an increase of over 200% since 2004. The proportion of households living in the private rented sector is forecast to reach 40% by 2025.

Whilst acknowledging that most landlords offer a good service to their tenants, it argues inadequate enforcement action is being taken against the minority of landlords and letting agents who act unprofessionally. It also recognises many landlords are facing challenges caused by reform to the welfare system and new financial and regulatory burdens such as changes to mortgage interest relief and Right to Rent checks.

The Mayor wants to see a private rented sector that offers stability to tenants who want it, with lower costs and decent standards across the board and he welcomes the growth of new professionally-managed Build to Rent schemes.

Measures set out in the strategy include:

  • A new London Borough Private Rented Sector Partnership to encourage greater collaboration and a more consistent approach across London;
  • Opposition to Right to Rent immigration checks;
  • Support for well-designed and operated licensing schemes, with power devolved to the Mayor to approve new schemes that operate under a more consistent framework;
  • A new light touch landlord registration scheme to run alongside existing licensing schemes;
  • A new ‘name and shame’ public database for landlords and letting agents who have acted unlawfully;
  • Exploring options to improving security of tenure; and
  • Support for government proposals to ban upfront letting fees to tenants.

The strategy notes that with a standard tenancy length of just six to 12 months, renters face high rents and little guarantee of security or stability, causing disruption for education, childcare and employment. The system is also letting down the many decent landlords, as out-of-date and confusing regulations make it easier for bad landlords to operate without punishment.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said:

It is shameful that a generation of young people are being priced out of the city they grew up in because of the housing crisis. I inherited a development pipeline where just 13 per cent of homes given planning permission were affordable, which is unacceptable. I’ve been honest from the start that turning things round will take time and fixing the housing crisis will be a marathon not a sprint, but my strategy sets out how we can start making a real difference to affordable housing in the city.

From £250 million to kick-start my plans to secure more land for new and affordable homes, to a new model and fairer deal for millions of private renters, I want to help all Londoners facing the housing crisis. I will use my powers and resources to their fullest extent, but Government needs to play its part too by giving London the powers and resources we need to see an even greater step-change in the number of homes being built. This launch marks the start of a three-month consultation - I want as many Londoners as possible to let me know their views on how we can improve housing in London.

Consultation on the draft London Housing Strategy is open for 3 month until 7 December 2017. You can read the full document here and take part in the consultation at www.london.gov.uk/housing-strategy-respond.

Once developed, the proposal will be submitted to Government for its consideration.

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