Boris Johnson's affordable rent model to face court challenge
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing, Legal
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Mayor of London Boris Johnson affordable rent model is to face a court challenge by eight of the city's councils.
Councils have traditionally set affordable rent levels themselves, typically at 30-40% of market prices.
However, Johnson will allow rents for new affordable housing to be set at 80% of the market level when he publishes his amended London plan, a decision that has caused outrage across the capital.
Now eight boroughs - Brent, Camden, Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Royal Borough of Greenwich, Southwark and Tower Hamlets - have given the Mayor formal notice that they intend to judicially review his decision, arguing that setting the rate so high will mean local residents, vulnerable people and families on low and middle incomes will be priced out of large areas of London.
Cllr James Murray, executive member for housing and development for Islington Council, said: "Across London, we need new housing that people on low incomes can afford. We believe the Mayor of London's plan to raise rents of new affordable housing to near-market levels is totally wrong for our city.
"In Islington, we are building new council housing and we want to protect social rents. Like many other councils we believe we should be able to set rents that we know are genuinely affordable in our local area.
"That’s why our eight boroughs are together challenging the Mayor of London over his attempt to impose higher rents on the people we represent."
Councillor Fiona Colley, cabinet member for regeneration and planning at Southwark Council, said; “The fact that so many boroughs have come together to seek a judicial review of this decision is evidence of the strength of feeling on this issue. All councils need every power possible to ensure rent levels are affordable for their residents.
"This is particularly relevant in London where rent is especially expensive. The implication of the Mayor's decision is that councils will have little power to make sure new affordable housing is really, genuinely affordable for local people and we are collectively prepared to challenge this decision at the highest level.”