Sian Berry, the Green Party London Assembly Member, has launched a survey to find out more about the problems faced by London’s 2.3 million private renters.
The short survey asks about problems with costs, contracts and letting agents, maintenance and repairs and how renters think a union of tenants working together could help improve their rights and situation.
“As a private renter, I know that the insecurity, cost and lack of control over your living arrangements can take its toll,” Berry said. “My flat’s toilet is never properly fixed by my landlord and has just broken again. I’ve shelled out more than half my pay in rent and lived in six different houses and flats since I moved to London.”
Berry describes London’s private renting market as in “crisis”.
Berry recently published a report (which you can read here) which showed that less than half of the capital’s police officers are able to afford to live in London, including in Croydon, where only 49 per cent of our serving officers live.
The cost of rent exceeds half of the take-home pay of the average police constable. “If the police service is to have a real understanding of London’s diverse boroughs and communities, we have to recruit and retain more officers who don’t just look like the people they serve, but who come from and live in our communities,” Berry said.
Other public servants and emergency workers, including nurses and fire fighters, face similar difficulties in being able to afford to live in the areas in which they work. This is a particular problem when it comes for our public services to recruit staff: Mayday Hospital has an ongoing recruitment problem, for instance, because it lies just outside the London Weighting pay area and is unable to offer to pay as much as other health service providers in nearby Lambeth and Wandsworth.
And there is no sign that ever-soaring rents in London are likely to slow down.
Berry, who was the Greens’ candidate for London Mayor in May, said today: “If you are – or have ever been – a private renter in London, please take three minutes to fill in my Big Renters Survey today. Tell me about your repair nightmares, how you’ve been treated by landlords and letting agents, and how you think a renters union could help.
“Share the survey with your friends and help me get the widest range of views to push the London Mayor and the Government for better rights and better support for private renters like you and me.”
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