Posts with tag: Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan makes request for two-year rent freeze in London

Published On: September 18, 2020 at 8:21 am

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Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has written to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to request powers to implement a two-year rent freeze to help prevent COVID-19 evictions.

This freeze would be introduced as an emergency measure. It would mean that private Landlords could reduce rents in London but not increase them.

Recent research from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and YouGov has revealed half a million London tenants are potentially facing eviction.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has commented: “More than ever, COVID-19 means that many of London’s private renters are facing a really uncertain future. More likely to be in lower-paid and insecure work, the end of the furlough scheme means even more renters in the capital are now at risk of pay cuts or losing their job.

“Yet at every stage of this pandemic, renters have been treated as an afterthought by the Government, with protection measures only ever rushed out at the last minute.

“This uncertainty is causing unnecessary anxiety and stress. I’m today calling on ministers to give me the powers to stop rents rising in the capital for as long as this virus is with us, to give London’s 2.2 million renters more financial security. If Berlin can freeze rents for five years, there’s no reason London shouldn’t be able to freeze rents for two years in these extraordinary times.

“Without an operational vaccine, the economic fallout of COVID-19 will continue for months into the future. A rent freeze is only one part of a package of measures renters urgently need from Government to ensure no one is forced out onto the streets as a result of this pandemic.” 

Alicia Kennedy, Director at Generation Rent, comments: “Evictions have been paused, but that hasn’t stopped some London landlords from raising the rent, which can force a tenant to leave their home.

“At Generation Rent we’ve heard from tenants who have been hit with a rent increase after telling their landlord that their income has been affected by the pandemic. Unwanted moves can leave struggling tenants with nowhere else to go and contribute to the spread of coronavirus. 

“With the economy in recession and coronavirus cases on the rise, landlords should not be permitted to raise rents and force a tenant into an unwanted move.

“We’re delighted that the Mayor has adopted Generation Rent’s proposal for a freeze on rents to ensure tenants are able to stay safely in their homes for the duration of this crisis.”

Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager, ARLA Propertymark, comments: “Government has provided protection to tenants through the stay on evictions and the job retention scheme, while landlords have fallen outside of government support.

“It is important to be proportionate to all involved in the sector – tenants, agents, and landlords – as the economy struggles to recover in this period. 

“It is therefore vital that the situation is not worsened through any measures on landlords as a kneejerk reaction to the conditions created by Coronavirus.

“The vast majority of landlords are supporting good tenants to stay in their properties but a mandatory rent freeze would serve to deter investment in the private rented sector at exactly the time when more is being asked of landlords.”

Sadiq Khan has also asked for a wider package of support to renters, including:

  • Tenant grants to help them stay in their homes and clear arrears.
  • Expanding access to welfare, including scrapping the Benefit Cap uprating Local Housing Allowance to median market rents, and making additional discretionary housing payments to cover shortfalls and extending eligibility to all renters, including those not currently entitled.
  • Scrapping Section 21 evictions, and restricting access to Section 8 evictions until the above welfare changes have been made.

Sadiq Khan to Push Rent Controls as Part of Re-Election Campaign

Published On: March 4, 2020 at 10:44 am

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The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has placed rent controls at the heart of his re-election campaign, calling the upcoming mayoral election “a referendum on rent controls”. 

Mr Khan is demonstrating that he is on the side of London tenants, who spend an average of 43% of their income on rent and saw rents increase by a third in the ten years since 2010.

He has issued a challenge to the Prime Minister, who had previously ignored Khan’s plans for rent control in the capital, stating:

“The case for rent controls is now absolutely undeniable. But Tory ministers have blocked us from introducing our plans for rent controls in London and have simply said no.

“That’s why today I am making the mayoral election on 7 May a referendum on rent controls – showing Londoners that I will stand up for renters. The prime minister will have to give us the powers we need because if he refuses to do so he will be denying the express democratic will of millions of Londoners. And as we have all heard Boris Johnson repeatedly say himself, the democratic will of the people must be respected and it is not for politicians to frustrate it.”

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and National Landlords Association (NLA) have taken the stance that rent controls would harm tenants rather than help them. John Stewart, policy manager for the RLA, and Chris Norris, policy director for the NLA said: 

“Rent controls might appear attractive to those already renting but they would be a disaster for anyone looking for somewhere to rent. 

“All they would achieve, as history and experience elsewhere tells us, is to drive landlords out of the market exacerbating an already serious shortage of homes available. 

“Instead of putting out simplistic and superficially appealing proposals in attempt to win votes, the Mayor should focus on boosting the supply of available housing using the powers he already has. 

“Only then will he make any discernible impact on improving the affordability of housing across the capital.”

But there are many who believe that this argument doesn’t hold weight, pointing to major cities such as Berlin and New York City where tighter rent controls have been shown to be effective. 

The free market dictates that where there is demand, there will always be an enterprising business or individual willing to supply. In effect, rent controls could simply drive out landlords whose business models are unable to adapt, strengthening the market overall.

Caitlin Wilkinson, a policy manager at the campaign group Generation Rent, said: 

“London is one of the most expensive cities to be a renter on the planet. Soaring rents mean the basic necessity of a secure, safe home is out of reach for too many people. Londoners are being priced out of the neighbourhoods they grew up in or forced to leave the city altogether.”

Rent controls will not fix London’s housing crisis

Published On: November 12, 2019 at 9:35 am

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The proposal for rent controls in London continues to be a controversial one, with mayor Sadiq Khan being urged to focus more on increasing the supply of rented housing across the capital.

The Mayor of London has called on the government to provide him with the power to put a cap on rents so that he can “fundamentally rebalance London’s private rented sector”.

Average monthly rent prices in London have increased by 35% from 2011 to 2018, rising from £1,095 to £1,473, according to the Valuation Office Agency’s analysis.

The latest English Housing Survey has also highlighted that private renters in the city spent 42% of their household income on rent, compared with 30% by those living outside of the capital in England.

However, there is a fear that Khan’s proposal could have a negative long-term impact on the quality of housing.

Paul Sloan, development director for haart, comments: “Rent controls sound great in theory, but unfortunately the reality is that they simply do not work. Around the world, we have countless examples of cities which have introduced rent controls, but that has done nothing to address affordability issues.

“The risk is that landlords are dissuaded from entering or staying in the market, which reduces the supply of available homes and can, in turn, inflate prices – the very thing the controls are brought in to avoid.

“Rent controls discourage landlords from investing in their properties which can mean that the supply of rental housing is of a lower quality than it would otherwise be, and tenants can find that repairs and maintenance are no longer a priority for landlords.

“Not only that, but the research from RLA has shown that rent controls can even serve to accelerate rises. An example from Berlin has shown that rental controls actually made rents rise by about ten% over two years, whereas before the controls were introduced, they rose by about one to two% per year.

“We believe that rental controls are no substitute for a functional market where homes are fairly priced and well-maintained. Rather than plumping for a system which has been proven not to work, we call upon the Mayor and the government to work alongside private landlords to discover measures that will keep them in the market and find ways to entice new people into becoming landlords.

“After all, increasing the supply of good quality homes into the rental market is by far the best method of keeping rental prices at a reasonable level.”

Calls for rogue landlords to be named

Published On: June 14, 2016 at 8:40 am

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The majority of buy-to-let landlords in the capital have moved to support a recent pledge from the mayor of London on publicly naming rogue landlords.

Sadiq Khan wants to name and shame landlords that have been convicted of housing-related offences and has received support from the sector, according to a new poll.

Shaming rogue landlords

A recent survey of landlords, conducted by the Residential Landlords Association, has uncovered that 75% are in favour of an online database which shames rogue landlords. This database would list landlords that have been successfully prosecuted for housing-related offences.

The move is one of a number of measures proposed by Mr Khan in his mayoral manifesto aimed at protecting the rights of renters.

RLA policy director David Smith noted, ‘landlords are ready and willing to work with the new mayor to develop workable solutions to ensure the safe, legal and secure homes to rent we all want to see.’[1]

‘The majority of landlords who provide decent housing and a good service to their tenants are fed up with the minority who provide substandard accommodation,’ he continued.[1]

Calls for rogue landlords to be named

Calls for rogue landlords to be named

Support

In addition, the survey found that 59% of buy-to-let landlords support the notion of letting agents being forced to publish a breakdown of their fees. 49% are in favour of capping fees charged by agents to both tenants and landlords.

Mr Khan has pledged to support the development of new homes in Britain. 37% of respondents to the survey noted that they would think about investing in new properties to rent in the capital, should plots of unused public sector land be highlighted for development of new housing.

[1] https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/6/name-and-shame-minority-who-provide-sub-standard-accommodation-say-landlords

Mayor of London Receives Support for Rent Controls

Published On: May 12, 2016 at 9:21 am

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Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, has received support from property professionals for his campaign to introduce rent controls in the capital.

The average private rent price in London has hit a huge 62% of the typical wage, making housing unaffordable for the average tenant.

Khan is continuing to focus on the capital’s housing crisis, after his mayoral election campaign emphasised the issue that affects many Londoners.

However, Khan’s plans will require the co-operation of central Government to enforce any regulations on the private rental sector.

His measures have been criticised by Shaun Bailey, a Conservative politician elected to the London Assembly, who called them “Soviet-style rent controls”1.

Mayor of London Receives Support for Rent Controls

Mayor of London Receives Support for Rent Controls

Despite this, some property experts have spoken out in support of rent stabilisation measures.

The Head of Residential Research at JLL estate agent, Adam Challis, explains: “This is being described as rent control, but it is more properly described as rent indexing, and, set at the right level, it is completely palatable to investors. It offers a sense of relative certainty over what future rental growth is going to be.”

Richard Donnell, the Director of Research at Hometrack, believes large-scale landlords will accept a measure of control on rents – a finding reflected by a University of Cambridge study for the London Assembly last year.

These measures are often accompanied by longer tenancies, which was included in Zac Goldsmith’s – Khan’s main rival – mayoral manifesto.

However, Lucian Cook, the Director of Residential Research at Savills estate agent, claims: “Anything that involves capping rents may be a double-edged sword.”1 He insists that the fundamental problem lies in the shortage of supply of new homes.

More politically achievable is a London living rent, which Khan says would take the form of rents capped at one-third of the local average income, rather than market rents.

Challis claims this could replace existing affordable rents, which are often required within new developments under planning agreements. Part of Khan’s housing plan is to insist that 50% of all new home developments are affordable.

In the private rental sector, affordable rents can currently cost up to 80% of market rates.

Challis believes: “To implement this on new properties would be relatively easy – it’s already what we do in various forms within the affordable housing spectrum. That’s something that would probably be supported by the local population and by local authorities.”1

Julian Goddard, a partner at property advisers Daniel Watney, thinks there are more serious issues to look at: “My recommendation would be to look at the supply side and take measures to ease the viability of new schemes.”1

The Policy Manager at Generation Rent, Dan Wilson Craw, insists that rents linked to wages should be introduced across the market: “The living rent seems to be spooking a lot of landlords, but it is not big enough for them to worry about – we would like it to be far more widespread.”1

Yesterday, we reported on Khan’s plans to release a new list of rogue landlords. The database would ensure that tenants could check whether a landlord has committed any housing offences.

Do you believe that Khan’s plans will benefit all in London’s private rental sector?

1 https://next.ft.com/content/f432c7aa-16bd-11e6-b197-a4af20d5575e

Sadiq Khan’s New Database Will Expose London’s Rogue Landlords

Published On: May 11, 2016 at 9:53 am

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The new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has revealed plans for a database that will expose the capital’s rogue landlords.

Sadiq Khan's New Database Will Expose London's Rogue Landlords

Sadiq Khan’s New Database Will Expose London’s Rogue Landlords

The London Landlord Watchlist will help Khan crack down on those who exploit tenants “like a ton of bricks”. The policy, aimed at the capital’s two million private tenants, would introduce a public City Hall database that enables renters to check out landlords before moving into a property. It will name and shame rogue landlords in the capital, and could include those who have repeatedly broken the law.

Offences that could put landlords on the database include unlawful eviction of tenants, failure to comply with an overcrowding notice and harassment. Recently, a landlord in Peterborough was prosecuted for harassing a tenant.

Ministers have already announced plans for a landlord register, but this would only be accessible by councils, not the public.

Housing was at the forefront of the mayoral campaign, as a host of Londoners continue to struggle to afford to rent or buy.

A recent study by housing charity Shelter found that around six in ten Londoners face daily living hazards in their rental properties. Meanwhile, one in ten has suffered health problems in the past year as a result of their landlord failing to deal with dangerous conditions.

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Research by the Labour Party also found that tenants would have to pay an average of £2,400 in letting agent fees over the next eight years unless action was taken. Khan has already revealed plans for a landlord licensing scheme and citywide not-for-profit letting agency.

He said: “Most landlords treat their tenants well, but too many renters are being deliberately exploited by rogue landlords. Enough is enough. I will come down on rogue landlords like a ton of bricks with a new London Landlord Watchlist to name and shame the worst offenders.

“We can’t stand by as thousands of renters are suffering high costs and low standards. That’s why I will promote licensing schemes to drive up standards and establish a not-for-profit lettings agency that will end rip-off fees for renters and promote longer tenancies.”1 

Remember to stick to the law and avoid being named and shamed!

1 http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/sadiq-khan-my-watchlist-will-expose-rogue-landlords-a3239716.html