London Assembly report predicts 50% growth in London’s PRS in next decade

Friday, March 4th, 2016 - London Assembly

A report, ‘At Home with Renting: Improving security for London’s private renters’ was published on 3 March 2016 by the London Assembly Housing Committee.

The report calls on the next Mayor to seek devolved powers from Westminster to introduce longer three-year default tenancies for private renters. It also calls for rents to initially be set by the market and annual increases capped at inflation over the course of the tenancy.

Based on research by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research (CCHPR), the report found:

  • Nearly 1 million London homes (27%) are rented privately;
  • Over 500,000 children are in privately rented accommodation; three times the 2004 figure; and
  • Another 400,000 homes will become private rentals in the next decade.

In addition to stable tenancies, the majority of the Housing Committee recommended that the incoming Mayor should:

  • Lobby government to help landlords competing to develop land specifically for build to let purposes;
  • Set up a London-wide register of landlords to help the boroughs enforce existing legislation and better protect tenants; and
  • Support London’s low-income renters by asking government to review the freeze imposed on Local Housing Allowance levels in London until 2020.

The GLA Conservative members did not agree with the findings of the report and expressed concern that the proposals would increase regulation of the private rented sector and have an unacceptable impact on investment and supply of private rented homes.

London’s private rented sector (PRS) has grown significantly over recent years; increasing from 16 per cent to 27 per cent of London’s housing stock in the last decade. Private renting is no longer a temporary measure, but a longer-term tenure for more and more Londoners.

Tom Copley AM, Chair of the London Assembly Housing Committee, said:

Nearly one-in-three homes in London are now let by private landlords, compared to one-in-six a decade ago. But the substantial growth in this sector often means greater insecurity for London households, with private tenants often having just six months to a year tenancies, no predictability over rental costs and the possibility of no-fault eviction with just two months’ notice.

Given that the PRS is likely to become London’s biggest housing tenure, this is simply unsustainable and unfair to the increasing number of Londoners – particularly families – that call it home.

England is unusual among western economies in offering tenants short-term tenancies and unmanaged rent increases. This report definitively finds that light-touch rent regulation could be introduced in London with minimal impact on the sector, delivering a more modern regulatory framework that works in the best interests of both landlords and tenants.

The GLA Report, ‘At Home with Renting: Improving security for London’s private renters’, can be viewed here.