Boris Johnson publishes 'London Rental Standard'
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government, Regulation
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has today published a blueprint calling for a 'London Rental Standard' (LRS) for the private rented sector (PRS).
The LRS calls for the establishment of a new deal for landlords, letting agents and tenants based around a set of universal standards that renters should expect.
The blueprint details 12 core commitments, including minimum expectations around protection of deposits, provision of contact details, emergency and urgent repairs response times, property conditions, complaints handling, fee transparency, as well as landlord and letting agent training and development through professional training courses.
The mayor claims his plans for the LRS include a shift in focus towards consumer empowerment, and wants every Londoner to ask the question: "is my landlord accredited?"
Mr Johnson believes the majority of landlords offer professional services to their tenants, with around 68% of Londoners reporting that they are either satisfied or very satisfied with the level of service.
To help meet increasing demand for private rented accommodation, the mayor has pledged to target funding from the Government’s forthcoming £200m equity fund for the construction of more homes.
One in four Londoners currently live in private rented accommodation.
The LRS will be consulted on with the industry and launched by the Greater London Authority (GLA) next year.
Mr Johnson said: “The PRS is a vital and growing component of our city's dynamic economy. The vast majority of the capital’s landlords provide a highly professional service, but with a vast array of accreditation schemes there is a strong case for landlords and letting agents to get round the table to agree a set of ambitious standards that will empower them and their tenants.
"Boosting supply, not burdensome regulation like rent controls, is the key to ensuring that the sector remains a significant feature of London’s housing market. I will also be looking closely at how we can cater better for the needs of private renters through new developments across the capital that show commitment to truly innovative design.”
However, London Assembly Green Party Member, Darren Johnson, said that the LRS didn't go far enough. He said: "The mayor has ruled out any meaningful reform to slow rent rises, preferring voluntary accreditation. That is positive but far from enough. We give our tenants some of the weakest protections in Europe, we should copy the smart rent controls and security enjoyed by tenants in countries like France and Germany where rent can’t rise faster than inflation guaranteeing fairness and predictability for tenants and landlords.
"We cannot go on pricing low paid workers out of swathes of London, it’s hurting our economy and the aspirations of a priced out generation."
Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association (NLA), said: “The NLA has worked extensively with the mayor’s office and welcomes the proposals outlined in the LRS.
“The NLA believes that building on existing landlord accreditation schemes is the most effective way of establishing minimum management standards in the capital’s PRS.
"Accreditation gives tenants peace of mind in a housing market which can seem daunting to those looking for a place to live by providing the assurance that that their landlord and agent knows what they are doing. Crucially, this is backed up by a specific and robust complaints process in the unlikely event of a dispute.
“We will continue to work with the mayor as well as other industry bodies to ensure that Londoners can expect a certain professional standard from their landlord or agent”.
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