At yesterday’s Mayor’s Question Time, I pressed the Mayor not to give up on helping private renters in homes that have already been built to keep their costs down during his mayoralty.
I (along with renters everywhere in London) was very disappointed to hear the Mayor say he would not even be trying to get the Government to give him more powers over private renting.
Drawing on results from my Big Renters Survey of London renters, I asked the Mayor what support London’s one million private rented households could expect, especially on costs, and for help with setting up a renters’ organisation for London that builds upon current renting groups and campaigns.
Watch here what happened:
In response to my questions, the Mayor said he had no plans to continue to seek further powers over rents on existing homes or to offer practical support to renters groups, saying simply: “I’m realistic. This Government is not going to give the Mayor of London powers of rent control or rent stabilisation.”
In response to other AMs’ questions, the Mayor did say he would persist in calling for a number of new powers today, including the ability to limit the number of Uber cars, but dismissed even trying to win for Londoners the same controls Wales and Scotland have over private renting.
If he is not even willing to argue our case for more stable rents, private renters in London will be left to suffer for four more years.
I also pointed out that the London Living Rent – a new standard of affordability from the Mayor – will only be applied to newly built homes. The Mayor has promised to build 200,000 new homes in London but even if 50,000 are made available at the London Living Rent this will only help five percent of the private renters in the city who are struggling with rising costs.
Sadiq was also ‘not convinced’ he should help a renters organisation covering all of London to get going. I hope he’ll meet some renters’ groups soon who can convince him otherwise and get him to explore what he can do to strengthen our voice.
Generation Rent – named-checked by the Mayor as doing good work in this area – outlined in their own report recently that the London Mayor should ‘provide funding for a London Renters’ Union’ as well as ‘investigate the merits of different forms of rent control to bring down the cost of renting’.
Read more here about the recommendations of my report, which include:
1. 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
2. More help and information for renters
Provided by the GLA, with a central information source and links to existing groups and council schemes.
3. Better regulation and support for landlords
With support at the London level to ensure consistent council enforcement, training and licensing.
4. 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.