As the Renters’ Reform Bill launches, London Councils is urging the government to work closely with boroughs in ensuring reforms are as effective as possible.
Highlighting the capital’s severe housing pressures, the cross-party group emphasised its support for banning unfair evictions and for applying the Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Regeneration, Housing & Planning, said:
“Two million Londoners live in private rented sector homes and they all deserve stronger protection.
“Banning no-fault evictions is an essential step forward. Too often we’ve seen Londoners turfed out of their homes for no good reason and made homeless, turning their lives upside down. With London’s homelessness pressures at near-record levels, we cannot afford for things to continue as they are.
“Boroughs want to work with the government to make a success of these reforms, but it is vital that councils are provided with the powers and resources we need to enforce the new rules. We will also continue to push for more action on the other issues driving London’s housing crisis. This includes addressing the chronic shortage of affordable housing in the capital and using the benefits system to provide more support for renters struggling to pay their rent.”
With the decreasing availability of private rented sector properties in London, boroughs believe it is vital the government’s reforms support landlords and positively encourage them to increase standards.
In response to the latest data showing rising homelessness rates, London Councils has called for “emergency action” from the government, including through raising Local Housing Allowance and increasing funding for local homelessness services.
London Councils points to a report from the Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities Committee published earlier this year warning that councils may lack adequate resources for enforcing the Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector.
The committee highlighted the precarious state of local government finances, the shortage of qualified enforcement staff, and a lack of reliable data. The report also highlighted the need for more affordable housing to tackle the rocketing rental costs many tenants face.