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Labour’s Sadiq Khan pushed to do more to help renters

Two councillors have successfully used the London Assembly to push London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the government to do more to protect renters in the capital.

Green Party assembly member Sian Berry, who proposed a motion urging a raft of initiatives, says: “The coming winter threatens to create a huge crisis for London's private renters, and while the government continues to delay bringing in vital protections, we need to raise our voices to call for emergency measures from both ministers and the Mayor.

“I am pleased the Assembly has backed further action today, including a rent freeze and an emergency suspension of no-fault evictions, in the same way that it was needed during the pandemic. We have also called on the Mayor to use any funding he can find to help prevent renters from losing their homes and to consider bringing forward our own proposals from London into Parliament."


And Labour councillor Sakina Sheikh, who seconded the motion, adds: “London is in a private rental crisis. Rents in the capital have increased by more than 18 per cent in the last year. Tenants don’t have enough protections, and it’s too difficult to hold bad landlords to account.

“Something needs to change. Policy makers must work with both renters, and landlords, and proposals urgently brought forward to alleviate the mounting pressure on the millions of Londoners who are private renters. The government has made repeated empty promises to bring forward legislation to ban section 21, no fault, evictions, but we still don’t have a timetable for this.

“We need ambitious measures to support private tenants in London. I support the Mayor’s call for the government to grant him the power to freeze rents.”

The full text of the motion is:

This Assembly is increasingly concerned about the situation facing private renters as the cost-of-living crisis continues and winter approaches.

The following issues are making this crisis more acute:

- Rises in rents, with estate agents reporting rapid increases since last year, particularly in central London;

- Many landlords asking for higher rents for existing tenants; and

- A rise in Section 21 notices from landlords, pushing more renters to search for new homes; Ministry of Justice figures show that there are 1,938 court claims under Section 21 in Quarter 3 2022 in London, the highest level since Quarter 2 2019.

We believe that, without action, London risks a wave of new homeless families and individuals this winter, and councils are already seeing more applications for support from Londoners. Data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) for Quarter 1, 2022 shows that 1,480 households are threatened with homelessness or made homeless as a result of their landlord selling or reletting. The latter is the highest Quarter 1 figure since they started collecting the data in 2019.

We note that the long-promised Parliamentary Bill to support renters and improve protections has been delayed, although DLUHC have reiterated that it will come forward in this Parliament, but without giving a firm timetable.

We also note that the Mayor has been vocal in calling for the power to freeze rents, and this policy has now been enacted in Scotland. 

The Mayor has also called on the Government to end Section 21 evictions, lift the benefit cap, unfreeze Local Housing Allowance rates and take measures to stop refugees and asylum seekers being pushed into homelessness.[7]

The Assembly supports the Mayor on all this, and asks the Chair to add our voice with a letter calling for these measures and making the following additional emergency demands to relevant ministers in Government:

- Institute an immediate suspension of Section 21 and eviction proceedings, similar to the emergency provisions during the pandemic;

- Urgently bring forward promised legislation to protect renters, with the most vital elements of the promised Bill needing to be in place by the end of this parliamentary session;

- Increase Housing Benefit to rates that allow working families on lower incomes to cover rising private rent demands;

- Provide urgent capital funding to councils, allowing them to buy homes from landlords who are struggling financially and provide security for existing tenants, and to purchase market-sale properties to support homeless families and individuals.

In addition, we do not believe the Mayor should wait to take action if the Government refuses to take these steps, and call on him to:

- Extend the Right To Buy Back programme to help councils buy homes from landlords in distress and from the market to keep renters in their homes and provide accommodation to avert this crisis,

- Lobby for legislation in Parliament for urgent devolved powers to improve private renting in London, including the power to freeze and control rents, and consider working with councils to use powers to propose our own new laws; and

- Set up his planned London Rent Commission now to develop evidence for and models of regulation for our city, rather than wait for powers to be devolved before creating this body.

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  • icon

    London will become a mini Scotland for the PRS…. Get out now if you had intended too anyway.


    It is just another reason to sell up. Communists want to control our properties.


    London is much bigger than Scotland, with the potential to be much worse!

  • icon

    Why doesn't he just speak to John Lewis as per the next article?

  • icon

    So it's a sec 21 ban, sec 8 for non payment will still be allowed ? We all know this winter is going to be a blood bath and in particular in London.

  • icon

    Who’s properties are these? Ours, his or the tenants?

  • George Dawes

    Love to see the mansion he inhabits

    Horrid little hypocrite

  • David Saunders

    Reaping that what they have sown. beware Mr Mare there's a Tsunami of section 21s coming your way.

  • icon

    The biggest help to renters would be restoring LHA to the 30th percentile rent.
    Even Social tenants are getting 7% rent increases so it is completely unreasonable to expect the PRS to go lower than that. A great many PRS tenants haven't had regular rent increases for the entire period of their tenancy so even if some increases do seem a little hefty right now they are in reality far more modest if the starting point is to look at WHEN the last increase was (if ever).


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