Balconies

Assembly wants more powers for private renters

02 November 2016

It’s estimated that private renting will grow to 41 per cent of all households by 2025.

The London Assembly today pushed for greater devolved powers from Government to improve the private rented sector in London.

The Assembly agreed a motion calling for the same devolved powers for London, as given to the Welsh and Scottish Governments.

Sian Berry AM, who proposed the motion said:

“My recent survey of London’s renters highlighted the desperate need they feel for better standards and regulation of the private rented sector to stop them being exploited by landlords.

“Further devolution of powers is an appropriate response to this need and has already proved to be successful in Wales and Scotland.

“There is no reason London cannot follow these positive models to implement consistent, city-wide standards for housing.”

 

Tom Copley AM, who seconded the motion said:

“In an age when the number of renters is closing in on the number of homeowners, it’s absurd that regulation remains so patchy. Boroughs have shown willing but they’re lacking appropriate government funding and renters are confronted with a postcode lottery.

“Instead of forcing Londoners to put up with unreasonable letting agency fees, rogue landlords and poor standards, the government needs to give City Hall a greater hand in regulating the sector. We’ve seen it work effectively in other parts of the UK, it’s a matter of fairness that London’s renters should come to expect the same.”

     

The full text of the Motion is:

“London has over two million citizens in private rented accommodation. Shelter estimates private renting will grow to 41 per cent of all households by 2025 – becoming bigger than the owner occupied sector in London for the first time since the mid-1960s.[1]

However, conditions in these homes are not provided at a consistently high standard by landlords, and those moving home are required to pay considerable fees and do not always get a high standard of service from letting agents.

Current regulation of the sector, including licensing of landlords in certain areas and enforcement of letting agent and landlord conduct, is the responsibility of borough councils who do not have the resources to ensure a consistent level of quality and service to renters.

Extensive devolved powers have been given to the Welsh and Scottish Governments to improve standards within the private rented sector, with benefits for landlords in terms of training, as well as for renters in – for example – not being required to cover letting agent fees in Scotland. London would benefit from being able to apply consistent standards such as these at a strategic London level.

This Assembly notes the Mayor’s current efforts to seek greater devolved powers from Government to improve the private rented sector in London. We believe, however, that these current negotiations may not go far enough in securing the powers London needs to resolve the problems in the private rented sector.

This Assembly therefore resolves to ask the Mayor to continue to press the Government for the devolution of more powers over the private sector in London, and to ask his team to meet with their counterparts in Wales and Scotland to learn about the benefits of new powers there as they come into force.”

Notes to editors

  1. Shelter’s estimate was given in evidence to the Housing Committee: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Rent%20Reforms%20-%20Making%20the%20Private%20Rented%20Sector%20Fit%20for%20Purpose%20Final.pdf
  2. Watch the full webcast.
  3. The motion was agreed by 12 votes for, to 4 votes against.
  4. Sian Berry AM, who proposed the motion, is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  5. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.