Mayor challenged on Private Rental “failure”

Today (Thursday) John Biggs AM backed criticism of the Mayor of London over his failure to tackle poor conditions for Tower Hamlets’ Private Rented Households. Two weeks ago Boris launched his “London Rental Standard” which he claims will “improve the experience of everyone” in this sector. However, the scheme is completely voluntary and poor and rogue landlords will not be forced to join the scheme. Boris was challenged on this at yesterday’s Mayor’s Question Time.

In the past two years, the average private sector rent in Tower Hamlets increased by 8%. John Biggs AM described the Mayor’s new scheme as a “meaningless gimmick”, as it is entirely voluntary and there are no plans to introduce compulsory regulation. Mr Biggs is calling on the Mayor to support real reform of the Private Rented Sector, including:

  • Compulsory licensing for all private landlords
  • Fixed three year tenancies
  • A ban on lettings agents fees
  • Predictable index-linked rent-rises

John Biggs, London Assembly Labour Group Member for City and East, said:

“The Mayor’s scheme will make little, if any, difference to the private tenants across Tower Hamlets who need protection from rogue landlords. The cost of renting in Tower Hamlets has increased by 8% in the past two years, but tenants are not receiving adequate protection in return for these soaring costs. Boris’ accreditation scheme will only help those fortunate enough to already rent from a good landlord - bad landlords will be unlikely to sign up to this scheme. After over six years in office the Mayor has totally failed to help private renters in the capital.

“The Mayor must support real reform of this sector. He should have been lobbying for government legislation to create longer tenancies as standard, caps on annual rent rises and a ban on lettings agents’ fees for tenants. Instead, he has wasted two years consulting on a voluntary standard that is not worth the paper it's written on. Private rented housing and lettings agents have minimal regulation. This must change otherwise people will continue to be ripped off and taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords and lettings agents."

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