London Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan and the leader of activist group Generation Rent have teamed up for an anti-damp and mouldy homes campaign in the capital.
Khan’s Better Renting programme has announced that over 70 environmental health officers have been trained so far this year, taking the total of 300 operating via London’s borough councils.
The Better Renting programme was launched in May 2020 aimed at ”upskilling” enforcement officers so that London councils can enforce safety standards.
Khan - in a statement which also quotes Generation Rent chief executive Ben Twomey - also wants the government to increase Rent Repayment Orders from 12 months to two years’ worth of rent as a deterrent.
New analysis reveals that in the case of a tenant paying the average London asking rent of £2,627 a month, Khan’s proposals could mean a pay-out of up to £63,000 for the worst offenders.
The Mayor says that while sub-standard housing is a nationwide issue, it remains the case that private renters in London are disproportionately likely to be defined as ‘vulnerable’. He claims that nearly a fifth of privately rented homes in London fail to meet the national Decent Homes Standard, with over 178,000 private rented properties in the capital classified as ‘non-decent’.
Khan says: “The provision of adequate housing is critical to building a better London for everyone and every single Londoner should have the right to a safe and secure home.
“That’s why I am funding the training of specialist officers to ensure homes meet a decent standard and why I am determined to see much tougher penalties for rogue landlords who rent out private properties in poor and dangerous conditions.
“This action can only come from the Government, but the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement proved a missed opportunity to clamp down on sub-par housing, and invest in the delivery of more high-quality, affordable homes.
“Nevertheless, I will continue to do all I can support London’s 2.7m renters by calling on the Government to finally end no-fault evictions, give me the powers to freeze private rents and, deliver the £4.9bn a year required to build the affordable homes Londoners desperately need.”
And alongside the Mayor, Generation Rent’s chief executive says: “Damp and mould are one of the most common dangers in our homes, and can cause devastating health problems. There are a variety of causes, including defective roofing, poor insulation and faulty plumbing, but too often tenants who complain find themselves ignored by landlords, or even blamed for the damp and mould.
“Environmental health officers play a vital role in identifying the causes of a home’s damp problem and instructing the landlord to put it right. It’s very welcome to see London’s councils upskill more officers through this important mayoral initiative, which is a crucial step towards healthier private rented homes.”
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