Ken Livingstone has launched a new housing campaign for the large number of Londoners who are consistently ignored in the housing debate – those living in private rented accommodation.
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In a speech to members of London Young Labour – party activists aged 27 and under, from London constituencies – Ken spoke about the ‘housing horror stories’ he has been regularly hearing and asked for their help in gathering evidence on the rental experiences of young Londoners. He has committed to taking action on the persistent problems tenants in the private rented sector face, if elected as Mayor next May.
Ken Livingstone said:
I am determined to stand up for the hundreds of thousands of ordinary Londoners living in the private rented sector. Too many people are being hit by high and rapidly rising rents, unfair fees, or accommodation which simply isn’t up to scratch.
Housing has become too much of a problem for too many people in London- and it has been exacerbated by the financial crisis and the chronic undersupply of homes in London.
People I meet all over London have been telling me their housing horror stories of rogue landlords, rip-off agencies and unsafe buildings, and I know that they are not alone.
In the coming months I want to set out a plan to improve the private rented sector which will be shaped by the experiences of Londoners.
I’m urging people to get in touch and tell me about their housing experiences so that if elected I can take action to improve housing for all.”
RENTING IN LONDON – THE FACTS:
- 697,000 London households currently rent in the private sector – 23% of all households in London. This is a much higher proportion than England as a whole, where only 15.6% of homes privately rent (English Housing Survey 2009/10).
- The average private rent for a two bedroom home in London is £1,360 per month – that’s £16,320 per year. The most expensive borough to rent in is Kensington and Chelsea, where the average rent is £2,714 – £32,568 per year (Shelter Private Rent Watch: Analysis of local rent levels and affordability, October 2011).
- 26 of the 30 most expensive boroughs for private rents in the country are in London (Shelter Private Rent Watch: Analysis of local rent levels and affordability, October 2011).
- In 22 (69% of) London boroughs, private rents for a 2 bedroom home are over 50% of average take home pay, and they’re over 40% in the rest. In Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Camden, Islington, Brent and Hackney the average private rent for a two bedroom home is over 70% of average take home pay (Shelter Private Rent Watch: Analysis of local rent levels and affordability, October 2011).
- Even a 1 bedroom flat is beyond the reach of people in many parts of London. In 23 London boroughs, the average private rent for a 1 bedroom flat is over 40% of average take home pay. In Brent, Camden, Westminster, Hackney, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea and Tower Hamlets – it costs more than 50% of average take home pay to rent a 1 bed flat. (Shelter Private Rent Watch: Analysis of local rent levels and affordability, October 2011).
- Home ownership is even less affordable. In the second quarter of 2011, the average cost of a first time buyer property in London was £302,933 and the average house price was £395, 548 (Regulated Mortgage Survey data as reported in DCLG Housing Live Table 504).
- Private rental sector is a growing sector – there are 252,000 more people renting privately in London than there were in 2000, up from 15.3% in 2000 to 23% in 2010.