This new Assembly report calls for tenancies of at least five years and tax incentives for landlords who improve properties to help improving conditions for Londoners who live in the private rented sector.
Our report sets out a range of measures aimed at improving conditions for the one in four Londoners who live in the private rented sector.
Our Planning and Housing Committee found that about a third of the private rented sector in London – around 280,000 homes - fails to meet the “decent homes” standard used in the social rented sector, and one in three private landlords is considered to be “rogue”, leaving tenants at the mercy of poor conditions or sudden eviction.
At the same time, London’s boroughs are paying more than £400 million of public money to private landlords, mostly through housing benefit, as the sector is increasingly used to house people who would once have lived in social housing.
Given its growing importance and changing role, the report calls on the Mayor, boroughs and central Government to make it a priority to bring properties and landlords up to scratch.
The report makes a series of recommendations:
The Mayor should:
- Lobby Government to examine longer and more secure tenancies, with protection from retaliatory eviction.
- Develop the idea of a “kitemark” in the form of an “accreditation badge” that sets out an achievable minimum standard that applies to landlords, and property.
- Work with estate and managing agents to encourage them to require rented properties to have the “accreditation badge” before advertising them for rent.
- Ensure that where public subsidy is given for new mixed tenure housing developments, landlords offering private rented sector homes offer a range of tenancy lengths.
- Review the selective licensing approach that Newham is implementing, in terms of its cost effectiveness and ability to target improvements in the worst private rented sector housing.
- Work with boroughs to find ways of incentivising landlords and managing agents to take part in accreditation schemes.
Local authorities should:
- Only discharge their duty of homelessness by offering housing that meets minimum standards based on the Mayor’s “accreditation badge”, once established.
- Where they discharge their duty of homelessness to families into the private rented sector, aim for a minimum tenancy offer of five years.
The Government should:
- Review the viability of tax incentives for private landlords to encourage them to make physical improvements in their property, or for those who offer longer tenancies than the 6 month Assured Shorthold Tenancy minimum.
Read our report Bleak Houses, and a special study we commissioned, below: