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Rent protesters to gather at City Hall to demand decent homes

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Rent protesters to gather at City Hall to demand decent homes

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government

To Let Signs To Let Signs

A number of London private rent groups will gather outside City Hall tomorrow to demand "decent, secure affordable homes for all residents".

Members of Brent Private Tenants’ Rights Group, 'Digs', Haringey Housing Action Group and Housing for the 99% will join forces to protest as London Assembly members arrive for the final meeting of the housing committee’s review of private rented housing.

The protestors will be joined by carol singers singing housing-themed Christmas carols before delivering a book of Christmas messages to committee chair Len Duvall.

According to protestors, private rents have increased at twice the rate of wages over the last decade, and the average rent for a two-bedroom property in inner London is now £18,000 a year. Yet a third of London’s private rented homes fail to meet the Decent Homes standard.

Jacky Peacock, from Brent Private Tenants’ Rights Group, said: "The number of people in poverty living in private rented accommodation has doubled in the last decade as rents have spiralled. We are now seeing families forced into acute hardship in order to pay the rent, even in places like Harlesden which is not the most luxurious part of London."

Michelle Lawson from Haringey Housing Action Group said: "We demand decent, secure affordable homes for all residents of London in the area they choose to live in."

Heather Kennedy, from Digs, said: "At the beginning of 2009, Boris Johnson pledged to end rough sleeping in the capital before the year was out. Instead, what do we have? We have rough sleeping up by 43 per cent since last year, with the end of a tenancy in the private rented sector being one of the most common reasons cited. Successive years of policy making have placed the agenda of landlords and letting agents over the needs of private tenants and this has to stop.

"Only bold action will do given the scale of the crisis. London has played host to some of the worst excesses of bad landlords and letting agents getting rich off the housing crisis. Self-regulation has failed. That’s why we’re asking the GLA to recommend a workable model of rents control alongside longer default tenancies, so private tenants can build stable lives and plan for the future. We’re asking for London to follow Scotland by putting an end to bogus, opportunistic letting agent fees. But laws are nothing without enforcement, which is why we’re asking the GLA to lead local authorities in demonstrating political will in enforcing the law and protecting private tenants."

Christine Haigh, from Housing for the 99%, said: "Considering that there are 1.5m of us in London, private tenants have had pathetically little voice in this review. We’re being ripped-off with poor quality, insecure housing and urgently need action to raise standards and control rents."

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