London Rental Standard
This Assembly considers the London Mayor’s London Rental Standard hardly worth the paper it is written on. It does little to control the worst abuses inflicted by bad landlords on their tenants and has no common procedure for dealing with complaints among the different accrediting bodies. As a voluntary document it will only ensure compliance by good landlords who have decent standards in the first place and will be ignored by bad landlords with impunity.
In view of the government’s cuts to legal aid for almost all housing matters – leaving tenants with little chance of being able to enforce such rights as they do have – stronger and more easily enforceable rights are required, including through an effective London Private Sector Rental Charter.
This Assembly believes London tenants need and deserve such better protection, including:
· A ban on letting agents’ fees for tenants;
· The introduction of long-term three-year tenancies, after a satisfactory 6 month probation period; and
· Predictable rents based on average market rents or inflation, which can only be reviewed per year.
This Assembly also believes that reform of Local Housing Allowance is required to make LHA at a more local level more reflective of market rents to ensure tenants are not overcharged and the public purse exploited by bad landlords who use the LHA to force up the Housing Benefit bill.
In addition, this Assembly calls on the Mayor to encourage all London boroughs to establish an active programme of assessments using the Housing Health and Safety rating System (HHSRS), to consider introducing selective licensing schemes in areas where there is clear evidence of poor management by private landlords, and to promote a clearer understanding of the rights and responsibilities of tenants, landlords and letting agents.