Sian Berry private renters report

News from Siân Berry: Living Rent proposals fall short of what London renters need

29 November 2016

Statement from Sian Berry on the Mayor's London Living Rent plans

Sian Berry AM in reaction to the Mayor of London's announcement of plans for how a London Living Rent will be supported by his new housing grants.[1]

"These complex proposals fall short of what the Mayor promised during the election. He doesn't seem to have got very far towards what most renters in London need to help them now: simple homes for rent that they can afford without conditions attached.

"The London Living Rent homes supported by new funding from the Mayor appear to be only for renters who are on track to own their own home already, much like the Coalition and Tory Governments' multiple failed schemes like 'Help to Buy', 'Rent to Buy' and 'Share to Buy', which have primarily helped people on higher incomes.

"The Mayor has clearly not convinced the Government to give London real flexibility to support people in all kinds of circumstances, even those unable to take on a mortgage within a few years.[2]

"The terms of the Mayor's new London Living Rent 'product' appear to be very like the previous 'Rent to Buy' scheme from the Government, which demanded a good credit rating as well as an annual income up to £60,000 and a plan to move on to shared ownership.[3]

"Renters in London come from all walks of life and those in most need of truly affordable rents don't earn anywhere near £60,000 a year. We need to make sure people without good credit ratings, who are more than likely to have been driven into debt by the terrible terms of the current rental market, have access to London Living Rent homes too.

"The Mayor needs to tell us what will happen to renters who aren't able to save for a deposit within the timescale envisaged by his scheme, whose family or employment circumstances change. Will they be forced to lose their tenancies when their time is up?"

Notes to editors

[1] The Mayor's announcement today defines his London Living Rent housing as:

"London Living Rent - set at no more than a third of local average household income for middle earners, and providing a route to home ownership for Londoners who need to save for a deposit after 10 years." [from briefing]

[2] The Autumn Statement speech suggested that London would have more flexibility in funding affordable rented homes for the long term, saying:
"And we will relax restrictions on government grant to allow a wider range of housing-types"
https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/autumn-statement-2016-philip-hammonds-speech

[3] The Government's Rent to Buy scheme allowed renters on reduced rents to save for a deposit and then buy a share of their home (or another one) after a period. The Mayor's scheme appears to lack even this flexibility, locking householders into only being eligible to buy their current home on shared ownership terms.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-rent-to-buy-scheme-to-help-young-people-save-and-move-up-housing-ladder

Further info on the terms of Rent to Buy here: http://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-buying/rent-to-buy/

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