- It is estimated that one in seven homes in England is criminally unsafe - but the good news is it just got easier for tenants in London to do something about this. Sadiq Khan has today brought in a tool for renters to check if their home needs a licence.
Local councils are responsible for identifying and putting a stop to criminal landlords. In some cases, tenants can even claim rent back from a landlord who breaks the law.
But councils are not doing much to help renters identify illegal practice and exercise their rights which means that many landlords are getting away with criminal behaviour.Read more
At the end of January 2020, I was made redundant. However, I was given a much appreciated redundancy package with severance pay, and was able to quickly find a new job to move into. That was however before the coronavirus and lockdown was enforced and, at the end of March, I lost this job as well. I was able to temporarily pay my rent and living costs from my original severance pay, but under the unaffordable rent costs in London, these savings soon dwindled away.
In good faith, and in an effort to avoid debt, I contacted my landlord, requesting that, with the allowances property owners had been given by the Government, I could have a rent reduction until I found another job. My request was met with an outright rejection, and I quickly started receiving aggressive letters from my landlord’s solicitors, demanding that I pay the rent in full. This was impossible, and I was forced to terminate my tenancy in London and move away.Read more
With candidates for London Mayor starting to set out their pledges, we reveal that half of London’s boroughs did not fine any landlords for letting out unsafe homes in the past year.
The winner of the mayoral election could step up the fight against criminal landlords overnight by letting tenants check online if their home needs and has a licence. An estimated 130,000 private rented homes in London do not have the correct licence, making 1 in 8 private renters eligible for a refund of rent. Those are good odds.
You’ve probably heard of Airbnb. But you might not have heard of Flipkey, HomeAway, HomeStay or Hostmaker. The concept stays the same - property owners rent out their house or flat for ‘short-term lets’, also known as holiday homes. They can be a great solution for covering your rent or mortgage bills for a few weeks whilst you’re away or utilising that spare room in your home.
But the problem is that local communities are finding more and more entire properties becoming permanent holiday homes. It’s eating up the market of houses that families can call home, and pushing up local rents.Read more
At the Labour party conference this week, delegates adopted a motion to (among other things) "Help private renters with an end to ‘no fault’ evictions, controls on rents and new minimum standards, including three year tenancies as standard."
The BBC reported on this commitment, but beyond the wording of this motion and John Healey's speech, we haven't had any more detail of what this would entail.
Luckily, Sadiq Khan has obliged. While the Mayor of London is not a member of the Shadow Cabinet, last week's publication of his response to the government's consultation on longer tenancies revealed that he is calling for much the same thing, plus some more idea of what it might look like in practice.Read more
Two million tenants in London will welcome the fact that getting a fairer deal for private renters is one of the Mayor of London’s five priorities for housing in the London Housing Strategy, which was published at the end of May. Given that Sadiq Khan’s housing powers are highly limited, what is his strategy promising to private renters in London?Read more
Local council elections are taking place in London in a few months. And just like the 2016 Mayoral race, these contests will be dominated by the city's housing crisis. From Haringey to Kensington and Chelsea, Londoners are looking for secure and affordable homes, and asking their councils to respond.Read more
Since the east London borough of Newham introduced mandatory borough-wide licensing of all private landlords in 2013, improvements in the sector have been indisputable. Criminal landlords are being driven out of the borough, standards and safety in the sector have improved and enforcement has dramatically increased.
Yet with the scheme due to expire on 31 December 2017, government is now more than four weeks overdue in making a decision on approval of a new, five-year scheme, to start in the new year.Read more
Delayed from August, this week saw the publication of the London Mayor's draft housing strategy, which is now open for consultation for three months.
Covering all housing policy from leasehold reform to tackling street homelessness, the strategy also has a specific section devoted to the private rented sector. With a quarter of London's children in the private rented sector, and millions of renters living in poverty, we all know how urgently action is needed.
We'll be coming back to parts of the strategy in the coming weeks, but here we just focus on the main headlines for renters.
The strategy builds on the Mayor's manifest commitment and previous public statements, and although the Mayor lacks the powers to fundamentally transform London's PRS, there are nonetheless some steps forward and potential to go further.Read more