Today I have published a report “What are London’s renters thinking?”, with the results of my recent Big Renters Survey of London’s private tenants.
The report lays bare the scale of dissatisfaction among London’s renters, with problems including rocketing rent costs, incomplete repairs, lost deposits and fear of losing their homes at the end of each annual contract.
It also reveals a strong appetite for an independent renter’s organisation to investigate bad landlords, provide a voice for renters and campaign for better standards.
Nine out of ten of the 1,530 renters who answered the survey between July and September had experienced four or more serious problems during their time renting in London.
The most common problem with costs and contracts in the past three years was a rent increase they struggled to afford and seven in ten renters suffered from repairs and maintenance not being done.
Sixty-eight per cent of people didn’t just answer the multiple choice questions but wrote in additional information, telling me about their experiences in London.
As a renter in London for nearly 20 years, it’s important to me that I keep bringing the voices of London’s 2.3 million private renters into City Hall. In the report I’m recommending that the Mayor stands up for London’s private renters and support them in standing up for themselves.
Significantly, nearly six out of ten renters said they would be prepared to pay a small fee to join a London-wide organisation that helped them in these ways.
This is a very important finding, as it means such a group could become self-sustaining once it has been set up. The Mayor should look seriously at providing practical help such as office space and seed funding to help found an independent London-wide organisation to represent renters in our city.
Recommendations in the report include:
Better engagement with renters
Including seed funding a London-wide organisation to carry out research and investigations and provide a voice for renters in dealings with City Hall and councils
More help and information for renters
Provided by the GLA, with a central information source and links to existing groups and council schemes.
Better regulation and support for landlords
With support at the London level to ensure consistent council enforcement, training and licensing.
Enhanced regulation of the sector nationally
With continued pressure from the Mayor, Assembly and London’s borough councils for powers to be devolved to London.
My huge thanks go to everyone who has taken the time to fill in the survey. It’s still open so that I can continue to hear your views – find the survey here.