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London Housing: What are the candidates proposing?

Posted on 2016-02-12

Londoners head to the polls on May 5th 2016 to decide their new Mayor, with Boris Johnson leaving his post. Both of the main candidates, Zac Goldsmith of the Conservative Party and Sadiq Khan of the Labour Party have placed housing for Londoners at the top of their list of priorities, and housing policies have taken a leading focus on the campaign trail. But, if elected, what would each candidate do for London’s housing and how would this affect landlords and tenants? 

In this post, we take a look at each candidate’s housing pledges. 

Zac Goldsmith (Conservative)

Since receiving the nomination of the Conservative Party last year, Zac Goldsmith has placed housing at the top of his mayoral campaign agenda.

As part of his campaign, if elected, Zac Goldsmith has pledged to work with the Government to start fixing London’s housing crisis. On his campaign website, he has stated that he plans to do this by:

- Doubling home building to 50,000 a year by 2020 and ensuring development is in keeping with the local area

- Giving Londoners the first chance to buy new homes built in London

- Ensuring a significant proportion of all new homes are only for rent and not for sale

Elsewhere, he has also pledged:

- A pan-London investment fund for overseas investors to finance new homes

- To focus on releasing publicly-owned brownfield land

- To put empty homes back on the market

- To get the consent of communities to build the right homes for the areas they are built in

- Longer-term tenancies and more certainty over rent increases

- To ensure rogue landlords are brought to justice

In an interview with the Evening Standard, Goldsmith said that:

“If we don’t deal with the housing crisis there is a chance London will become a miserable, less dynamic and less successful place”. He would have put more emphasis on community involvement in big planning decisions — and would give Londoners the power to force the Mayor to call in a development.”

Writing in The Telegraph, Goldsmith also outlined what he believes are London’s housing failings, which have led to Londoners spending more time commuting than with their families, and that housing was the “number one priority” and that “we need to close the gap between supply and demand”.

You can read more about Zac Goldsmith’s plans for London housing, as well as the rest of his campaign at his campaign website:

Sadiq Khan (Labour)

After winning the Labour Party’s nomination for the mayoral candidacy, Sadiq Khan labelled the race as “a referendum on housing”. As part of his campaign, if elected, Sadiq Khan has pledged to:

- Set up a new team at City Hall dedicated to fast-tracking the building of genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy.

- Introduce a 50% affordable housing target for new developments

- Use mayoral planning powers to stop ‘buy-to-leave’ and give ‘first dibs’ to first-time buyers and local tenants.

- Invest in housing and support housing associations in their plans to ensure a minimum of 80,000 new homes are built a year. This will be done using £400 million of the affordable homes budget not invested by Boris Johnson.

- Bring forward more land owned by public bodies and use the Mayor’s new homes team to develop this land so more homes can be built where they are needed.

- Create a new form of affordable housing, with rent based on a third of average local income, not market rents. This will give tenants the chance to save for a deposit.

- Action for private renters through the creation of a London-wide not-for-profit lettings agency to promote longer-term, stable tenancies.

- Set up landlord licencing schemes that will name and shame bad landlords and promote good ones.

You can read more about Sadiq Khan’s election pledges at his campaign website:

From these campaign pledges, it’s clear to see that both candidates care passionately about housing, and that it’ll be a central part of the campaign in the coming months. The upcoming mayoral election looks set to be important in deciding the future of London’s housing so, if you have a vote, ensure that you take a detailed look at each candidate’s campaign pledges and make an informed choice. You can see Zac Goldsmith’s here and Sadiq Khan’s here.

Image courtesy of iStock.

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