2 January 2018
Camden Council is pricing families out of its new 'Living Rent' scheme by charging more than £550 per month above the Mayor's official London Living Rent limits for 3 bedroom homes.
The council has emailed people who have registered an interest in its new intermediate rented homes, pitching larger homes in its developments explicitly at young, professional sharers, as these homes are too expensive for families.
Green Councillor Sian Berry describes this as a betrayal of the principle of a living rent and 'spectacularly unhelpful' in the midst of a housing crisis that is hitting families hardest.
London Living Rent is an important new way of setting rent affordability, defined by the Mayor of London and based on a third of average local household incomes.
The Council has recently set up Camden Living, a wholly owned council company to provide rented flats to people such as key workers who don't qualify for council housing but struggle to afford private rents in the borough. Sian Berry has previously welcomed this idea, but is dismayed to see the rents expected for family homes as the first set of flats is advertised - see www.camdenliving.co.uk where they are advertised.
"I've seen the email launching the new Camden Living flats on Maiden Lane, Bourne Estate and Chester Balmore. They are calling these flats 'Camden Living Rent' so I've been comparing them with official London Living Rent levels to see what is going on.
"It's a real betrayal of the principle of a Living Rent to see the prices of the family homes in these schemes. They are letting down families if they are pitching all these homes at professional single people. And if they are saying the words 'Living Rent' they should at least stick to the definition from the Mayor!
"For the 1-bed and studio flats, Camden Living is setting rents below the Mayor's official London Living Rent limits, but for the larger 2 and 3 bed flats their rents go hugely over this. These cost up to £550 per month above the London Living Rent for a 3 bed home, which costs up to £1,808 per month on Maiden Lane and £1,918 per month on the Bourne Estate - way above what a teacher or nurse with a family could afford.
"They are also muddying the good new concept of a Living Rent by calling this 'Camden Living Rent'. We've had enough trouble with the definition of 'affordable' being ruined by Boris Johnson over the years, and if Camden Council is now going to start messing with the new definition that's spectacularly unhelpful."
"I've sent an urgent question to Camden officers to ask for an explanation."