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Livingstone to private tenants: share your 'housing horror' stories

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Livingstone to private tenants: share your 'housing horror' stories

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Published by Julien Tremblin for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government

Ken Livingstone: Share your London ‘Housing Horror’ stories Ken Livingstone: Share your London ‘Housing Horror’ stories

London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone has launched a new housing campaign for the large number of Londoners who are living in private rented accommodation.

He urged the hundreds of thousands of private tenants who “are consistently ignored in the housing debate” to make themselves heard by sharing their “housing horror” stories.

In a speech to members of London Young Labour – the capital’s party activists aged 27 and under – on Sunday, Mr Livingstone spoke about the ‘housing horror stories’ he has been regularly hearing  and asked for their help in gathering evidence on the rental experiences of young Londoners.

He explained he is committed to taking action on the persistent problems tenants in the private rented sector face, if elected as Mayor next May.

Ken Livingstone said: "I am determined to stand up for the hundreds of thousands of ordinary Londoners living in the private rented sector. Too many people are being hit by  high and rapidly rising rents, unfair fees, or accommodation which simply isn’t up to scratch.

"Housing has become too much of a problem for too many people in London- and it has been exacerbated by the financial crisis and the chronic undersupply of homes in London.

"People I meet all over London have been telling me their housing horror stories of rogue landlords, rip-off agencies and unsafe buildings, and I know that they are not alone.  

"In the coming months I want to set out a plan to improve the private rented sector which will be shaped by the experiences of Londoners.

"I’m urging people to get in touch and tell me about their housing experiences so that if elected I can take action to improve housing for all.”

Mr Livingstone’s speech comes after new Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey said that Labour would regulate the private rented sector to provide “security and choice" to families.    

Mr Livingstone is currently inviting Londoners to share their experiences of renting a home or room in London via social media and his own website.

Renting in London statistics:

  • 26 of the 30 most expensive boroughs for private rents in the country are in London (Shelter Private Rent Watch: Analysis of local rent levels and affordability, October 2011);

  • In 22 London boroughs, private rents for a 2 bedroom home are over 50% of average take home pay, and they’re over 40% in the rest;

  • Even a 1 bedroom flat is beyond the reach of people in many parts of London. In 23 London boroughs, the average private rent for a 1 bedroom flat is over 40% of average take home pay;

  • Private rental sector is a growing sector - there are 252,000 more people renting privately in London than there were in 2000, up from 15.3% in 2000 to 23% in 2010.

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