Livingstone pledges London Living Rent, saying Boris has “completely failed” on housing

Ken Livingstone today pledged to establish a London-wide non-profit lettings agency and introduce a London Living Rent for the capital, reports Shamik Das.

 

Ken Livingstone today pledged to establish a London-wide non-profit lettings agency and introduce a London Living Rent for the capital. Addressing IPPR’s London Policy Conference this morning, the Labour candidate for Mayor said Boris Johnson had “completely failed on housing”.

Livingstone said that if he was elected in May, he would bring in a “fairer approach” to housing.


A non-profit lettings agency would put good tenants in touch with good landlords so both can benefit from security of tenure and reduce the costs of letting, he explained, adding:

“It will work with boroughs, landlords’ representatives and tenants’ representatives, to develop a London-wide strategy for tackling rogue landlords and driving up standards. It will tackle a series of issues on accreditation, inspection and enforcement, licensing and energy efficiency, as well as tenants’ deposits protection.

“I want to end the churn-and-burn approach of some of the private letting agents, so I will be tackling abuses in this area.

“Through this work we will challenge the scandal of rip-off agency fees, horrific standards and the daily experience of disputes over deposits in the private rented sector, seeking to widen best practice such as that in Newham a borough that has made the campaign for a fairer rented sector a key part of their work.”

While on his other flagship housing policy, the London Living Rent, Livingstone said:

“Too many Londoners pay more than one third of their income in rent. That benchmark should be the indicator that drives us in our work to improve the living standards of Londoners from all walks of life.

“In more than half of London boroughs Londoners are paying on average over 50 per cent of their incomes. We should be doing everything we can to get that number down. Many people in reasonably well-paid jobs are seeing their incomes absorbed into their housing costs.

“Learning from the success of the London Living Wage in arguing, cajoling, intervening and collaborating, the Living Rent Campaign will be a new way of making City Hall work for ordinary Londoners.”

The urgent need for action on housing is clear: Nearly a quarter of London households (700,000) are in the private rented sector – compared to 16% nationally; the average rent in the capital is now £1,000; and more than 40 per cent of private rented dwellings do not meet the decent homes standard – compared to 29% of owner occupier, 20% of housing association and 27% of council houses.

The horror stories are numerous, as Livingstone illustrated:

“Earlier this year I launched a specific appeal for Londoners to tell me their ‘Housing Horrors’ – what was their personal experience of living in the private rented sector?…

“We were overwhelmed by the things people told us; one wrote:

“I currently live with my husband and 2 children in a small 2 bed flat in north London for which we pay the extortionate amount of over £1250 per month. We cannot move as we have elderly relatives in the area that we look after and our children are settled in school.”

Another said:

“As (previously) a University Lecturer – I’ve been forced to move back to my mothers and quit my job in the city simply due to the fact that the cost of renting even a room in London is unaffordable – unless I live in squalid conditions constantly having to move.”

“Londoners need help with the housing crisis right now.

“We are not talking only about the poorest or most marginalised. There thousands of Londoners, many aspirational and well-qualified, who by definition will never get into social rented accommodation. Most of them cannot afford to buy.”

See also:

Ken v Boris: Six months out, Livingstone steps up the pressure on transport and crimeShelly Asquith, November 8th 2011

Cuba heading for a housing bubble to beat all bubblesAlex Hern, November 7th 2011

Taking action on London’s housing horrorsKen Livingstone, October 24th 2011

A third of the country could lose advice vital to preventing homelessnessWill Horwitz, October 19th 2011

Why isn’t Boris coming up with any solutions to London’s housing crisis?Jenny Jones AM, September 9th 2011

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21 Responses to “Livingstone pledges London Living Rent, saying Boris has “completely failed” on housing”

  1. Vivien Bartlett

    [email protected] pledges London Living Rent, saying Boris has “completely failed” on housing: http://t.co/JsVIlWKs by @ShamikDas

  2. Selohesra

    Ken seems to be very keen on making all sorts of promises of spending projects & hand outs – whose going to pay for this when the EU have closed down London’s financial services industry – there won’t be fat cats and banker to pay the tax

  3. Political Planet

    Livingstone pledges London Living Rent, saying Boris has “completely failed” on housing: Ken Livingstone today p… http://t.co/qID21Icg

  4. THE PHOENIX TREE

    RT @leftfootfwd: Livingstone pledges London Living http://t.co/yiTXuCxm

  5. Jennir

    Livingstone pledges London Living Rent, saying Boris has “completely failed” on housing: Ken Livingstone today p… http://t.co/qID21Icg

  6. Thecatgirl7

    These are words from a man who has already been in power, and watched idle while the situation deteriorated. as usual, promises, promises.. legislation is slowly improving the private rented sector, and ‘not for profit’ normally means ‘not available to you’ for the majority of hard working people he is talking about. the real answer to london’s housing crisis, is encouraging people who do not need to be situated there, to have a better life somewhere else.

  7. Anonymous

    They could call the agency ‘a Housing Association’ and maybe they could call the Living Rent ‘Affordable Rent’ and get all the LAs to work out what is affordable in their Borough and enforce that as the maximum ‘Affordable Rent’.

  8. Alastair

    A living rent and an agency to support Londoners dealing with private landlords. More good policy anouncments from Ken, but can anyone really trust him to follow through or is it just another lie from his search for power. I’d vote for almost any other Labour candidate on the strength of such housing promises but with Ken I simply don’t beleive he’ll follow through.

  9. What costs £1.3 million a pop and Boris hopes will get him reelected? | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • Livingstone pledges London Living Rent, saying Boris has “completely failed” on housing – Shamik Das, December 13th […]

  10. Look Left – Labour hold Feltham but deeper problems remain | Left Foot Forward

    […] candidate for London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who this week pledged to establish a London-wide non-profit lettings agency and introduce a London Living Rent for the […]

  11. Shamik Das

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  17. Christian Wilcox

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    […] Livingstone pledges London Living Rent, saying Boris has “completely failed” on housing 13 Dec […]

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