News from Siân Berry: Almost no-one escapes unscathed from London’s private renting market
London Assembly Member Sian Berry has launched a report “What are London renters thinking?”, based on the results of her recent Big Renters Survey of London’s private tenants.
The report lays bare the scale of dissatisfaction among London’s renters, over a range of areas including rocketing rent costs, incomplete repairs, lost deposits and fear of losing their homes at the end of each annual contract. It also reveals the appetite for an independent renter’s organisation to investigate bad landlords, provide a voice for renters and campaign for better standards.
Nine out of ten renters had experienced four or more serious problems during their time renting in London.
The most common problem with costs and contracts in the past three years was a rent increase they struggled to afford and seven in ten renters suffered from repairs and maintenance not being done.
Sixty-eight per cent of the 1,530 renters who filled in the survey also wrote in additional information, telling Sian about their experiences in London.
Significantly, nearly six out of ten renters said they would be prepared to pay a small fee to join a London-wide organisation that helped them in these ways.
“As a renter in London for nearly 20 years, it’s important to me that I keep bringing the voices of London’s 2.3 million private renters into City Hall. In this report I’m recommending that the Mayor stands up for London’s private renters and support them in standing up for themselves.
“The willingness of renters to pay a small fee to join a renters’ organisation is very significant, as it means such a group could become self-sustaining once it has been set up. The Mayor should look seriously at providing practical help such as office space and seed funding to help found an independent London-wide organisation to represent renters in our city.”
Among other recommendations, Sian’s report suggests more support at the London-wide level for renters, including a central information source with links to existing renter’s groups and council schemes. In addition to this, Sian calls for continued pressure from the Mayor to push the government to devolve more powers over housing to London.
A copy of the report is available here: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/sian_berry_renter_survey_report_oct2016_final_1.pdf
Notes to editors
 Sian launched the Big Renters Survey in July: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/assembly/sian-berry/launch-of-big-renters-survey-for-private-tenants
 Sixteen case studies are quoted in the report. Phil, Clifford and Lori are also available for interview on request.
 The full recommendations of the report are:
1. Better engagement with renters
Including seed funding a London-wide organisation to carry out research and investigations and provide a voice for renters in dealings with City Hall and councils.
2. More help and information for renters
Provided by the GLA, with a central information source and links to existing groups and council schemes.
3. Better regulation and support for landlords
With support at the London level to ensure consistent council enforcement, training and licensing.
4. Enhanced regulation of the sector nationally
With continued pressure from the Mayor, Assembly and London’s borough councils for powers to be devolved to London.
Sian is available for interview.
Sian Berry was elected as a Green member of the London Assembly in May 2016. She has been a councillor for Highgate ward in Camden since 2014.