Building a London for Everyone

Building a London for Everyone

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What do I need to know?

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How many homes does the Mayor think need to be built in London?

The Mayor’s official assessment of housing need in London found that the city now requires around 66,000 new homes a year to provide enough homes for current and future Londoners. According to this assessment around two-thirds of these new homes should be affordable homes. The Mayor is clear we must increase the supply of new homes, particularly of affordable homes.

The Mayor’s new draft London Plan has identified enough land within Greater London to build 65,000 new homes a year to meet this need. Following adoption of the London Plan, subject to government approval, 65,000 new homes a year, with an individual target for each London borough, is expected to become London’s annual average target for new home building in 2019.

What is the Mayor doing about empty homes?

Although the number of empty homes in London is at a historically low level, the Mayor is working to ensure that no home sits empty unnecessarily while the city is in the midst of a housing crisis. The Mayor wants to encourage all councils to charge the empty homes Council Tax premium, to make leaving homes empty less attractive. He is also lobbying government to allow councils to set this tax at a much higher rate, to make it more effective.

I’m in housing need, how can I get help?

The Mayor has a strategic role in increasing the number of homes built in London, but local councils are responsible for directly delivering housing to residents. You can apply for housing from your local council, or write to your councillor, Assembly Member or MP about a specific issue.

Solving the housing crisis is a marathon, not a sprint, but the Mayor is doing everything in his power to increase the number of genuinely affordable homes in our city. This includes building new council homes, and he recently launched his Building Council Homes for Londoners programme, which offers funding and other support to councils to help them to build more council homes.

What is the Mayor doing to ensure London’s homes are safe?

The Mayor wants to encourage strict quality and safety standards in homes in London. The tragic Grenfell Tower fire raised urgent questions about the safety and design of some existing buildings, and about how rules and regulations are written and enforced. 

The responsibility for building safety regulations sits with national Government, and the Mayor does not control them. Nonetheless, he is separately using his planning powers to demand the highest standards of fire safety by requiring that all major developments produce a Fire Statement. This Fire Statement will ensure that safety measures are incorporated into building designs from the earliest stage. 

The Mayor welcomes the Government’s announcement that they will provide funding to councils and housing associations so that they can remove dangerous cladding, but believes more must urgently be done to ensure that private blocks are safe too. The Mayor is also a core participant in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, and will be engaging fully with the investigations. 

What is an affordable home and how can I find one?

There are a number of different types of affordable home and these can be accessed in different ways. 

The Mayor currently provides money to build three main types of affordable home:

  1. Affordable rent: homes based on social rent levels, aimed at low-income households with rents currently no more than £159 a week for a two-bedroom home
  2. London Living Rent: homes that offer Londoners on average incomes a below-market rent, enabling them to save to buy a home of their own – currently an average of just over £1,000 a month for a two-bedroom home
  3. London Shared Ownership: allows Londoners to take out a mortgage on a portion of a new or existing property and pay rent on the rest – bought by households with an average combined income of around £40k a year

You can find social housing by applying through your local authority, who will usually place you on a waiting list called the Housing Register. The council will determine your priority on this list using a range of criteria, which can vary from council to council.

If you wish to find a shared ownership or a below-market rent home, you can do this through the Mayor’s newly launched Homes for Londoners property search tool. This allows you to search for homes, check whether you are eligible, and to also book open day viewings.

Will the Mayor build more council homes?

Absolutely. While tackling the housing crisis is not easy and will take time, the Mayor firmly believes that getting councils building again is a key part of the solution.

The Mayor wants to work with councils across London to do all they can to build more homes themselves, and has recently launched Building Council Homes for Londoners – the first ever City Hall programme specifically for council homebuilding –  to support councils to get 10,000 new council homes underway over the next four years by providing funding and other support.

How do I know if I’m eligible for a tenancy deposit loan?

Thanks to the Mayor’s work with charities and employers, many London businesses now offer their employees interest-free tenancy deposit loans, similar to season ticket loans to help with the cost of renting in the capital.
The schemes vary, but generally they allow employees to borrow the money for a rental deposit as an interest-free loan, which is then deducted gradually from their salary payments over up to a year.
Speak to your employer (or your HR department) to find out if you’re eligible. 

What is a housing association?

Housing associations are independent, not for profit companies set up to provide affordable homes for people in housing need. Over 400,000 London households currently live in a housing association home, and many blocks of housing commonly described as ‘council housing’ are actually owned and managed by housing associations.

What is London Living Rent?

London Living Rent is a type of affordable home, offering Londoners on average incomes a below-market rent, enabling them to save for a deposit to buy their own home. Look at the rent levels for London Living Rent homes.

I am a social tenant – how can I move to another part of London or outside of the capital?

The Mayor operates two schemes to support social tenant mobility: Housing Moves and Seaside & Country Homes.

  • The GLA’s Housing Moves scheme operates with homes contributed by housing associations and councils, giving London’s social housing tenants the opportunity to move between different parts of London. The scheme prioritises those that are under-occupying and will soon prioritise victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence
  • Seaside & Country Homes offers people who are aged 60 and over and live in social housing in London the opportunity to move to bungalows and flats managed by housing associations mainly across the south coast but also in eastern England and the west country
What is the Mayor doing to help private renters in London?

More than two million Londoners are private tenants, many of whom are struggling with the cost of renting. 

The Mayor’s powers over the private rented sector are limited, but he is doing everything within his powers to improve both quality and affordability for Londoners. So far, the Mayor has:

  • launched a Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker to help renters report and avoid bad landlords and letting agents
  • joined others in successfully lobbying Government to ban letting agent fees, which will save tenants hundreds of pounds each time they move
  • helped more than 100,000 Londoners get access to tenancy deposit loans from their employers
  • formed a partnership with all London boroughs to improve rental sector standards and help crack down on criminal landlords and agents

Increasing the availability of affordable homes will also help to tackle the London’s housing shortage, which is the root cause of rising rents. The Mayor is investing £4.82billion in genuinely affordable homes. This includes a new type of affordable housing for people struggling in the private rented sector; London Living Rent

What can I do if I suspect my landlord is breaking the law, or if I’m having a problem with my tenancy?

Read our blog about the key things that landlords are not supposed to do and the places renters can go for support and advice. 

If you suspect your landlord is breaking the law, you can make a complaint using the easy reporting tool on the Rogue Landlord and Agents Checker web page. Once you’ve filled in a simple form, the details will be passed to the relevant London borough to investigate.

Read more about protecting yourself as a private tenant, please check our advice for renters.

How do I know if my current or potential landlord is rogue?

You can try searching for them in our new Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker, which shows information about landlords and agents who have been successfully prosecuted or fined by a council in London, or penalised in other ways. The Checker contains both private landlords and letting agents. You are entitled to know basic information about the landlord who owns your property, such as their full name and address. If you’re a current tenant this information should be on your tenancy agreement.
All London councils have now agreed to add their data to our Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker, and many have already submitted their records, meaning the information is publicly available. Legal restrictions means records can only stay on the system for a limited time though, and enforcement levels across London are low because of budget cuts to council services, so just because someone does not appear on the Checker, that does not guarantee that they’re a good landlord. The Mayor is working hard with councils to help them crack down on more rogues so they know they'll have nowhere to hide.

How do I know if I’m eligible for a tenancy deposit loan?

Thanks to the Mayor’s work with charities and employers, many London businesses now offer their employees interest-free tenancy deposit loans, similar to season ticket loans to help with the cost of renting in the capital.
The schemes vary, but generally they allow employees to borrow the money for a rental deposit as an interest-free loan, which is then deducted gradually from their salary payments over up to a year.
Speak to your employer (or your HR department) to find out if you’re eligible. 

What do freehold and leasehold mean?

Freehold is a type of property ownership, where a person or organisation has outright ownership, forever, of a property and the land on which it is built.

Leasehold is a form of property ownership where a property is leased from a freeholder.

How is the Mayor helping more Londoners to buy their first home?

The Mayor is helping people get on the property ladder by building homes in the capital, including genuinely affordable homes for Londoners on low and middle incomes to buy.

Through his Affordable Homes Programme, the Mayor is funding thousands of new Shared Ownership homes in London for households with incomes below £90,000, enabling them to purchase a share in a new home and pay a low rent on the remaining, unsold, share. 

In addition, the Mayor has welcomed commitments from the homebuilding industry to offer ‘first dibs’ to Londoners on properties for sale in the capital for £350,000 or below. 

Londoners may also be eligible to receive support from the Government’s Help to Buy scheme in order to purchase a home up to a value of £600,000.

However, the Mayor recognises that many would-be homeowners in London are locked out of homeownership, not just because of high purchase costs but because of high rent levels that make it difficult to save anything at all, let alone enough for a deposit. That is why the Mayor is funding the building of London Living Rent homes, which offer Londoners on average incomes a below-market rent, enabling them to save for a deposit to buy their own home.

The Homes for Londoners search tool allows Londoners to search for affordable homes to buy in the capital.

What is Shared Ownership?

Shared Ownership is a type of affordable home ownership when a purchaser takes out a mortgage on a share of a property and pays rent to a landlord on the remaining share. 

For example, someone might buy a 50% share in a property, and pay rent to the landlord on the remaining 50%. Purchasers then have the opportunity to ‘staircase’ up their share of the property, gradually increasing the proportion of their home that they own outright and therefore paying less rent on the remaining portion, until they own 100% of their home. 

The Mayor funds Shared Ownership homes as part of his Affordable Homes Programme 2016-21.

How is the Mayor helping to make sure more new homes can be bought by Londoners, rather than foreign investors?

‘First Dibs’ is an agreement that the Mayor has secured from many developers, to get them to offer new homes to buy for up to £350,000 to Londoners and people elsewhere in the UK before they are opened up to buyers outside the UK. Find out more about ‘First Dibs’.

How is the Mayor building more affordable homes for Londoners to buy?

Homes to buy through ‘shared ownership’ – where you part buy, part rent a home – are much more affordable than buying outright and need a much smaller deposit. A requirement to build homes for shared ownership is included as part of the Mayor’s affordable housing targets for all developers – and he is using his planning powers to block developers’ plans if they don’t include enough genuinely affordable housing. The Mayor is also using the funding he secured from national government to get tens of thousands of shared ownership properties built by councils and housing associations. Find shared ownership properties for sale.

Find out what is happening in your borough


of GLA funded affordable homes 2015/16 to 2016/17

estimated number

of children in temporary accommodation, Sept 2017

yearly average

of 2017 draft London Plan housing targets

What have we done so far?

  • 2016

    Just 13% of new homes given planning permission were affordable in the pipeline Sadiq Khan inherited when he was elected Mayor of London.

    Sadiq also inherited a pipeline of there being zero new homes for social rent with City Hall funding.

    In late 2016, he secured £3.15bn funding from central government to start 90,000 new genuinely affordable homes by 2021.

    These homes included ones based on social rent levels, ones for shared ownership and ones at London Living Rent - a new scheme allowing renters to save for a deposit while paying reduced rent.

  • 2017

    The Mayor handed over the keys for the first London Living Rent homes in Beckenham.

    Sadiq's draft London Housing Strategy and draft London Plan were published, setting out the Mayor's commitment to 50% of new homes being genuinely affordable.

    The Rogue Landlord Checker was launched, allowing renters to check if a landlord or letting agency has been prosecuted for housing offences.

  • 2018

    Sadiq secured £1.7billion extra funding to start 26,000 more genuinely affordable homes by 2022 - the majority of which will be based on social rent levels.

    Work started on 12,526 genuinely affordable homes in 2017/18, including 2,826 based on social rent levels.

    New Building Council Homes for Londoners programme launches to support councils in building 10,000 new homes over the next four years.

  • 2019 and beyond...

    Work continues to build new genuinely affordable homes - and to make the case to national government for London to get the powers and money we need to truly fix the housing crisis.

  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019 and beyond...

A record-breaking 12,526 genuinely affordable new homes have started being built in the last year.

Building a London for everyone