In minutes published this week, the Greater London Authority (GLA) said it would consult on the strategy in the summer while carrying out an impact assessment at the same time. After a few months revising the strategy, which must be approved by the London Assembly and the secretary of state, it aims to adopt the measures in spring 2018.
James Clark, housing policy manager, GLA, said the London Housing Strategy contained five priorities; increase housing supply, ensure more housing is genuinely affordable, homes to be inclusive and attractive places to live, address homelessness and focus on the private rented sector.
The GLA said ‘genuinely affordable’ refers to either London affordable rent, which is social rent, or London Living Rent based on one third of average local incomes and shared ownership.
A member of Just Space asked the GLA if it would seek to manage demand as well as increase supply as ‘it’s demand that has got out of hand’.
The authority responded by saying it supported a rebalance of the UK economy, and taking the pressure off London, but this objective was not likely to go in to the strategy.
When challenged on the task of bringing empty homes back into the private lettings market, the GLA refuted the claim empty homes were a problem. It said the GLA had the lowest number of empty homes for 30 years. “Only 0.6% of the total stock, 22,000, are empty for more than six months and those left are much harder to bring back into use,” it said.
Just Space pressed the GLA on landlord licencing and whether this could be adapted to help control rents and address repairs. It also wants the scheme to become tenant-centred as currently the tenant gets evicted if the landlord loses their licence.
The GLA said Newham had [carried out] a huge number of landlord prosecutions due to their licensing system, which raised the question why can’t other boroughs do the same?
The authority said mayoral landlord licensing was its ‘top ask’ on the devolution of powers as it was keen to provide additional help to local authorities and share information and good practice so as to achieve more enforcement.
The Just Space campaign group includes the Camden Federation of Private Tenants, Radical Housing Network, London Gypsy and Traveller Unit, London Tenants Federation, Community Food Growers Network and The Ubele Initiative, London Community Neighbourhood Cooperative, Race Equality Foundation, Age UK London.