Town hall chiefs have passed a motion calling on the Government to encourage landlords to keep rents down so tenants can feel more secure in their homes.
Lambeth councillors have voted through a Lambeth Living Rent motion calling for the power to establish and enforce local rent controls to be devolved to the local authority.
The motion, proposed by Green councillor Becca Thackray and backed by more than 40 Green and Labour councillors, also commits the council to publish an annual ‘Lambeth Living Rent’ for the private rented sector.
The average wage in London is £26-30,000 a year, and average rents are half that. Greens say this is pricing people out of buying
and pushing people into poverty and debt.
Councillor Pete Elliott said: “I hope that this motion is the start of something really positive for thousands of Lambeth’s residents who are not feeling secure in their own home.
“With this Lambeth Living Rent initiative, along with many other areas of concern around housing in Lambeth, it is definitely time for a separate sub-committee in Lambeth to focus on, and scrutinise housing.”
Councillor Becca Thackray added: “Since 2010 the average rent has risen to three times more than the average income.
“The hardest hit are young renters, women and people from BAME and low income backgrounds.
“Lambeth must put pressure on central government to hand over the power to control sky-high rents.
“Consensus across political parties can bring rapid change. A cross-party campaign to ban letting fees was successful in April 2017. This too can succeed.”
Cllr Paul Gadsby, Lambeth council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “I backed this motion because it supports the work we are already doing to protect tenants’ rights which has included expanding resources dedicated to the private sector and publicly calling for rent controls to be considered.
“We are taking a tougher line on hitting rogue landlords with heavy fines as well as naming and shaming them. Prior to this motion, we had already committed to a wider consultation with residents on our next steps for the private rented sector. I am pleased the Greens are now fully backing our approach.
“More generally, it is clear the high costs of rent as a result of our broken housing market are unaffordable for all but high earners. Hardest hit are the younger generation, women, people from low income backgrounds and BAME communities.
“This is because the government has failed to listen to local authorities like Lambeth, failed to address key causes of the housing crisis and most crucially failed to provide the funding needed to build more homes that can be let at council level rent or sold at genuinely affordable prices.”
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