Saturday 15 December 2012

PRIVATE TENANTS DEMAND: Decent, Secure, Affordable Homes For All

I have received the message below from London Private Tenants. Census data released last week showed a significant rise in the number of Brent residents living in the private rented sector. Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt has pledged action to improve the standard of homes in the sector but tenants also want to see the reintroduction of rent controls and increased security of tenure.

Join us on Tuesday 18th December at City Hall (GLA HQ) to stand up for the rights of private tenants to decent, affordable, secure homes.

When: 9am to 10am  - City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2AA   [To help organise, meet 8:45am @ Cafe Fratelli, nearby]

We will be demanding that rent controls are brought back, local housing allowance (LHA) is increased with inflation, secure tenancies are reintroduced and greater protection and support is given to private tenants.

On Tuesday 18th Dec the London Assembly Housing and Regeneration Committee are holding their last meeting as part of the review of London's Private Rented Sector. The theme of this meeting is 'tenant and landlord rights' and the purpose of the review is to 'evaluate different options for achieving higher property standards, greater security and more affordable tenancies'.

Tenants have been given little voice in the process so far, so come and join other private tenants and supporters to make our demands known and put pressure on those attending to stand up for private tenants.

Bring banners, Santa hats, placards, lots of noise ..and warm clothing...

Carol singing!

Tenants have adapted some classic carols to the theme of housing and will be singing on the day, so come ready with your best singing voice

The meeting
This is a public meeting and some of us are planning to go in, we want to make the presence of tenants and supporters felt, so please join us. At the start, we'll be presenting our 'Dear Santa' scrapbook to the Chair of the Committee, Len Duvall.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Private Tenants Demands...

Bring Rents Down!
Housing is a basic necessity, like food and water. Actions to maximize rental income at the detriment of tenants show this has been forgotten. Rent controls do exist on pre-1989 tenancies and we demand these controls be introduced to all tenancies.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Remove all bogus Letting Agents 'fees' for tenants!
Letting Agents provide a service to Landlords and charge them for doing so - they should not take further 'fees' from tenants. Agency 'fees', reference 'checks', admin 'fees' and leaving 'fees' are all costs that have been created in recent years by and for Letting Agents to increase their profits and exploit the basic need to have a home.

Length of Tenure
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Bring Back Secure Tenancies!
Until 1988 most tenancies were secure. Today, private tenants are given a six month tenancy with few rights. Across London, people are being evicted by landlords who know they can charge extortionate rents for substandard properties. Tenants should be able to live in their chosen community and home, near schools, friends and family, as long as they wish. Housing should not be a business like selling cars or renting holiday homes. Bringing back rent control will force rents down to affordable levels.

Tenant and Landlord Rights

Decent Standards!
Less than half of private rented homes meet the Decent Homes Standard. Many homes in London are in an appalling, dangerous condition and it is often children, the elderly and vulnerable adults who are worse affected. The link between poor housing and the health, wellbeing and life chances of tenants is striking. 

Tenant Empowerment!
The GLA should ensure that empowering tenants is central to the policy recommendations that come out of this review. Presently, landlords have many rights, and tenants have very few. This balance of power needs to be shifted so that tenants are empowered to enforce their right to be involved in all decision-making about their housing, from rent to maintenance to length of tenancy. The GLA should ensure that the voice of private tenants is heard at all levels of policy making. There is a tradition of landlords being thoroughly consulted in discussions about the private rented sector but tenants being ignored. The London Assembly has the power to see this change.

Private Tenants in London are mobilising! Why not get involved with a group near you? Or set one up of your own.

- Housing for the 99% .,..
- Hackney Housing Action
- Digs - Hackney Private Renters Group..
- Haringey Housing Action Group...

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