Communities and Local Government CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by the Greater London Authority

In December 2012, the Mayor published a comprehensive set of proposals to empower tenants and landlords in London’s private rented sector. The consultation paper, which also includes an evidence base and a draft “London Rental Standard”, is enclosed with this letter. Please accept this document as the GLA’s submission of evidence to support the Committee’s inquiry into the private rented housing sector.

A quarter of Londoners are now private renters, more than in any other region. The Mayor acknowledges that with a growing private rented sector comes a requirement to empower landlords and tenants to promote consistent standards and more choice. The private rented sector can also do even more to support new housing supply in the capital. To achieve these aims the Mayor proposes to:

Publish a “London Rental Standard”. With a large number of landlord and letting agent accrediting organisations, the Mayor wants to establish a set of voluntary yet ambitious standards that renters should expect from any accreditation scheme operating in the capital, matched with benefits for landlords and agents to join. The draft London Rental Standard, which has been developed in consultation with the accreditation bodies, is today published for full public consultation.

Boost custom-designed, purpose-built private rented housing. To help meet increasing demand for private rented accommodation, the Mayor will be targeting funding from the Government’s forthcoming £200 million equity fund to accelerate housing supply. He also wants to explore ways in which the design of new homes can better reflect the needs of renters as well as launching a design competition to seek out the best ideas for new developments.

Pilot to explore longer, more secure tenancies. With research showing that longer term tenancies can improve people’s economic prospects and be in landlords’ longer-term interests and significant growth in the number of families in the private rented sector, the Mayor will also be inviting major landlords to participate in a pilot to test out how they can offer tenants longer contracts and greater certainty over rent increases.

Promote standards. The vast majority of landlords and agents offer a professional service to their tenants, however they are let down by a small minority who do not. All of the legislation to deal with this issue is already in place—but the Mayor believes that use of this legislation can and should be improved.

More detail on these and other proposals can be found in the consultation document.

January 2013

Prepared 16th July 2013