Questions to the Mayor on his Final Draft Consolidated Budget (Supplementary) [6]

Session date: 
February 23, 2015
Question By: 
Tom Copley
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, I wanted to ask you about what your budget will do for the quarter of Londoners who rent from a private landlord.  Last week I was contacted by a constituent, Emma, who lives in the London Borough of Islington.  She says:


“I live in a two-bedroom flat along with my husband and children.  We pay well over £1,000 a month for this privilege.  The flat has had numerous problems, many of which we’ve had to fix ourselves as the landlord refused to, and we still have numerous problems such as doors that don’t shut properly, ceilings stained with water from a leak in the flat above, cracked glass in the windows which are over 50 years old, having to remind the landlord constantly of his legal obligations such as getting a gas certificate and protecting our deposit.  My son has asthma because the walls are damp and there is mould, which I constantly have to clean off.”


Mr Mayor, how will this budget do something to help people like Emma who are struggling in the private rented sector?


Answer for Questions to the Mayor on his Final Draft Consolidated Budget (Supplementary) [6]

Answer for Questions to the Mayor on his Final Draft Consolidated Budget (Supplementary) [6]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  She should obviously expose her landlord.  If he is not a subscriber to the London Rental Standard or to any other registered landlords’ body, then he should be exposed.  It seems to me that there are ‑‑


Tom Copley AM:  How many landlords are currently signed up to the London Rental Standard, Mr Mayor?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ ways of exposing such Rachmanite behaviour.  What you will not do ‑‑


Tom Copley AM:  How many landlords are currently signed up?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I cannot give you the figure off the top of my head.


Tom Copley AM:  I can give you the figure.  The most recent figure is 13,499 and you have a target to get that to 100,000 by next year.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I have no doubt that we will get a very long way there and I do not know what you are ‑‑


Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, I am not sure whether to ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do not know what your proposals are.  If you want to drive private landlords out of the market ‑‑


Tom Copley AM:  I will let you know.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ or impose rent controls, then be honest and say so.  There is no legal way that we can do so.  The landlords have statutory obligations to meet certain standards.  I do not think it is your constituent, actually, in Islington.  I think it is your neighbour’s constituent and I do not why she is writing to you and not to Jennette [Jennette Arnold OBE AM].


Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, I can tell you what the Labour people are proposing.  If you had read our budget amendment, you would know what we are proposing.  We are proposing to invest £1.65 million in extra enforcement officers, which will help boroughs uphold standards in the sector.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am sorry.  It is up to boroughs to enforce standards and ‑‑


Tom Copley AM:  We will establish a private rented sector decent homes fund to help bring properties up to standard.  We will create a programme to tackle London’s 100 worst landlords.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ what we are doing is the previous programme of building and building, by the way, for private rent as well.  The ultimate answer for people such as Jennette’s constituent is to ensure that they have the widest possible choice of landlords and also to expand the London Rental Standard.


Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, we have set out ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am delighted that we have 13,600 - or whatever it is - already signed up and I am confident that we will get to 100,000.


Tom Copley AM:  You are easily delighted, then, Mr Mayor.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  At least we are trying.  At least we are doing something.  At least we are building homes, unlike the pathetic Labour administration ‑‑


Tom Copley AM:  Can I just say the Labour Group has set out ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ which sat here doing nothing with huge budgets during times of plenty and failed to build the homes that Londoners need.  You should be ashamed.


Tom Copley AM:  No.  You are now deviating, Mr Mayor.  You are now deviating.  You are showing ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  By the way, I think it was you who said that the Labour Party should apologise.  You said the Labour Party should apologise for its failure in 13 years to build more --


Tom Copley AM:  You should show a little respect to people who are struggling to rent in the private rented sector, Mr Mayor.  You should show them a little respect by answering the questions that I am putting to you.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Why not do it yourself now?  Why not apologise?  Why not take it upon yourself to apologise for Labour’s deplorable failures?


Tom Copley AM:  Thank you.  I will carry on.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  If this is a question, yes?


Tom Copley AM:  It is a question.  Thank you, Chairman.  Your approach to this has been entirely voluntary with this London Rental Standard, yet we have seen complaints against landlords rise by about 50% since you took office and conditions continue to worsen.


What is there contained within this budget?  We have set out some proposals, which I hope you have looked at and which I hope you will consider.  Can you tell me?  What is there in the budget that will help tenants?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I have explained that the proposals are that we will massively expand the choice and availability for private rental tenants in London by increasing the number of homes we are building across the city.  That is the best way forward.  We are also, of course, supporting the London Rental Standard and that is a way forward for tenants.  Obviously it is not compulsory and it is voluntary, but huge numbers of people - as you have attested - are signing up and I have no doubt that more will sign up as the months go by.


Tom Copley AM:  Thank you.