Already well-established are Sadiq’s promises that 50% of new homes will be “affordable”, a “Living Rent” at a third of average incomes for new homes, and homes built directly by City Hall – all similar to policies we have called for.
We are sceptical of his support for shared ownership, which has been problematic in the past for part-owners who find themselves stuck with rising rent levels. We’d much rather see more “bubble-free” community land trusts like the St Clements project in Mile End.
Caroline’s suggestion of giving tenants a right to buy the home they live in if their landlord wants to sell is a good one, and while not all renters would be able to buy the home they live in (thanks to deposit requirements) it should play a part in wider reform of security of tenure.
Much of the industry is talking about building homes for private rent – the Mayor should use their powers to ensure these developments offer long term homes and we’re pleased to see that Caroline is committing to this.
Funding new homes without relying on people who care more about profit than Londoners will require some new ideas. Caroline will be raising money through a £20 council tax “precept”, while Sadiq talks of using City Hall as a platform to attract long term funds. Both are amber on our grid as council tax will raise only £2bn to build 50,000 council houses, while we’d like to see more detail about the platform (though “London Home Bonds” have been mentioned in the past).
Both Sadiq and Caroline want to license London’s landlords – Sadiq through a Londonwide scheme, which would need support from the government in Westminster. Sadiq has also adopted one of our calls which was to make a new government blacklist of “rogue” landlords accessible to the public.
Sadiq has long supported a Londonwide letting agent and has talked about it being a vehicle for raising standards in the sector. Caroline has joined our call to ban letting agent fees to tenants (a policy that Sadiq was elected to Parliament on too). Both these commitments are welcome.
Last month Sian Berry announced her plans to support the creation of a tenants’ union. In his manifesto Sadiq speaks of working with tenants as part of his work – slightly vague – while Caroline has committed to commissioning renters groups to establish a tenants’ forum for City Hall.
Both Caroline and Sadiq are keen on longer tenancies in the private rented sector, but we’re not yet sure what their visions are. Caroline will use the licensing system to promote this, while Sadiq will lobby Westminster for relevant powers. Join our calls for protections from unfair evictions – write to the candidates here.