“Do more to enforce standards for private renters,” Sian Berry urges Camden Council

30 November 2016

Camden Green Party councillor Sian Berry has called on Camden's Labour Council to use its existing powers to do more to ensure Camden's private renters have a safe and comfortable place to live.

At the same time she has called on the council and the Mayor of London not to give up the fight for more powers from Central Government to regulate London's private rental housing.

In a joint motion (1) with Liberal Democrat Councillor Flick Rea, submitted to the full meeting of Council on Monday 21st November, 2016, Sian calls for Camden's Labour Council to take the following action: 

  • Do more inspections of private rented properties, as the percentage of properties inspected by Camden is roughly half that of the average across London Boroughs.
  • Increase prosecutions of rogue landlords who provide substandard accommodation.
  • Call on the government to give London more powers over the private rented sector, including a comprehensive citywide licensing scheme for private landlords.

In Sian's recent survey of private renters conducted for the London Assembly, more than half of respondents in Barnet & Camden had problems getting landlords to complete repairs (2). Better enforcement measures by the Council would be a step towards improving this.

At the same time, more than 54% of respondents to the survey in Barnet & Camden reported having difficulty affording a recent increase in rent – more than the London average of 43% (2).

Using her role as both a Councillor and London Assembly Member to address the private rental crisis, Sian has won unanimous support from Labour and Liberal Democrat Assembly Members in a call for the Mayor of London to continue to fight for devolution of powers over private renting in London (3). This comes after the Mayor appeared to give up arguing for the ability to stabilise rents and limit estate agents' admin fees (4).

Sian Berry said:

“As a private renter in Camden, I've experienced delays in getting important repairs done all too often. There are many facets to crisis we face, but if Camden's Labour Council were to use all the powers it has to enforce standards it would make a difference.

Equally Camden can't solve the problem on its own, and it's important the Mayor and London Assembly make the case for London to have the right to regulate the private rental sector. There's no reason why London can't follow Wales and Scotland – let alone many parts of Europe – to implement consistent standards for renters like me.”

References

1 Motion 3 to the meeting of Camden Council on 21/11/2016 from Councillors Flick Rea and Sian Berry:  http://democracy.camden.gov.uk/documents/s55571/Motions%2021.11.16.pdf 

2 Results from Sian Berry's London Assembly survey of private renters http://www.sianberry.london/news/housing/2016-10-10-big-renters-survey-results-published/

3 Sian Berry's successful London Assembly motion calling for improved standards for the private rental sector: http://www.sianberry.london/news/2016-11-02-renting-powers-motion/

4 Four more years of rent rises? Renters get a raw deal at Mayor's Question Time: http://www.sianberry.london/news/housing/2016-10-20-four-more-years-of-rent-rises/

 






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