Last month the Labour Party's Sadiq Khan was handed the keys to City Hall after beating his closest rival Zac Goldsmith by over 300,000 votes to become London's third Mayor. The Mayoral Election was described as a 'referendum on housing' due to the growing housing needs of London's ever-expanding population. With a high proportion of Londoners opting to be part of the Private Rented Sector (PRS), Khan faces added scrutiny to see how he will manage this important part of the capital's housing market.
So what exactly has Sadiq Khan promised London's tenants and landlords and who has he appointed to help him carry out his policies?
His key proposals...
- The introduction of a new team dedicated to fast-tracking the building of affordable homes to rent and buy.
- A target for 50% of all new homes in London to be affordable, giving 'first dibs' to first-time buyers and local tenants.
- Bringing forward more land owned by public bodies like Transport for London and use the Mayor's new homes team to develop that land.
- Creating a new form of affordable housing, with rent based on a third of average local income, not market rates.
- Establishing a London-wide not-for-profit lettings agency to promote longer-term, stable tenancies.
- Working with boroughs to set up landlord licensing schemes – naming and shaming bad landlords and promoting good ones.
Residential Landlords Association concerned by possibility of “more bureaucracy”
Writing in the City AM newspaper, the Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, Alan Ward, urged the new Mayor not to introduce 'more bureaucracy for good landlords' by setting up additional landlord licensing schemes.
Instead, he suggests that asking tenants to name their landlord through the council tax registration form is a more cost-effective way of identifying 'bad' landlords.
He also said that Khan is right to want longer tenancies but that there needs to be an environment in which it is made easier for landlords to offer them.
“London needs 50,000 new homes a year”
Mr Khan's election manifesto said London needed 50,000 new homes a year, whether the new Mayor will be able to deliver this number remains to be seen. He recently highlighted that last year in London, 4,880 new affordable homes were delivered, the lowest total recorded since records began in 1991.
When can we expect to see changes?
The new Deputy Mayor for Housing, James Murray, recently refused to set a housebuilding target until the publication of a new strategy document, known as the London Plan. But Murray admitted to the London Assembly that Mr Khan's housing ambitions could take years to achieve. Murray also said that working with developers to enforce the 50% affordable homes policy would be difficult and won't happen overnight.
When it comes to the PRS, it seems highly likely that we might see some new licensing schemes. What's more, if Khan hits some of his housebuilding targets, we may see the volume of rental stock in the capital gradually increase, to meeting the ongoing demand for housing.
The Mayor has clearly been focusing on housing and, although it may take years, he says he is “determined to fix London's housing crisis and ensure that all Londoners have the opportunity to rent or buy a decent home at a price they can afford.”