MAYOR PLANS TO “NAME AND SHAME” ROGUE LANDLORDS
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is making plans to “name and shame” rogue landlords.
He told Sian Berry (Green party) during Mayor’s question time that his predecessor (Boris Johnson) launched a Landlord Accreditation Scheme, saying that he wanted to do something about poor standards.
“Despite a target of accrediting 100,000 landlords by 2016, fewer than 2,000 new landlords were in fact accredited through it.
“In contrast, I want to develop well thought through and meaningful approaches that will actually help renters. “That is why my team is developing plans to name-and-shame rogue landlords and why we are supporting local authorities to crack down on bad landlords through properly enforced landlord licensing schemes.
“Many boroughs are already doing great work in this area and I will support their efforts when they do so.”
Sian Berry AM: I am pleased to see that you still have plans in train for a “database of rogue landlords”, as you called it. Will this include letting agents who break the rules and will you commit to collating the information that is in the borough schemes and from other sources and putting it online in an accessible way as soon as possible?
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): we are working on a portal to do just that and we are taking advice. There are issues around data protection stuff and there are issues around defamation as well, but we are exploring all of those difficult things. That is the ambition.
I have no control over the rents that private landlords charge already. I am not sure if you are suggesting retrospective rent control powers, but those powers do not exist.
What we can do is try to stabilise rents in new properties. The good news is that many local authorities and others are building PRS homes. They are good landlords. They give longer-term tenancies between three and five years and, during those tenancies, the rent goes up only by inflation. There are examples London of PRS homes being built by local authorities and by private developers but, as far as those who rent from private landlords are concerned, as you will be aware, we have no powers to get involved in that.
We know that more and more Londoners are finding housing harder and harder to afford and, for those Londoners who rent privately, that is particularly the case. Over the last eight years, rents have increased by nearly three times average earnings, meaning that even Londoners on very decent incomes are struggling to pay their rent, never mind save for deposits.
We need to be building thousands of new and affordable homes every year to help Londoners who are renting privately. We also need to be honest that making housing more affordable is not going to happen overnight. My team has been working with councils, housing associations, developers, investors and Londoners themselves to get started on this goal. We need to build homes of every type and we need to make sure as many of them as possible are affordable.
That is why we are aiming to publish new planning rules in the autumn to make sure new developments include a decent proportion of affordable housing. Those affordable homes will include ones for shared ownership to help private renters buy their first home and new homes for a London Living Rent, a rent based on a third of the average household income to help give private renters a rent that they can afford and that enables them to save for a deposit should they wish to do so.
Beyond concerns about affordability, the lack of security for private renters can also make life difficult for many tenants, especially the growing number of households with children living in rented homes. Furthermore, although most landlords offer their tenants a good service, a minority of landlords are letting their tenants down with poor-quality service and conditions.