Sadiq Khan has renewed his call for a rent freeze in London just days before the government is due to announce reforms to give tenants more powers to fight rent increases.
In a speech delivered on Monday, the London mayor said he had surpassed his target of 116,000 genuinely affordable homes in the English capital since 2015 – but warned Londoners that the “housing crisis will take time to fix”.
Record-high rents are a symptom of the housing crisis and Khan has urged the government to allow him to freeze rents in London, which have risen almost 5 per cent on average in the last year according to the Office for National Statistics. The statistics body also found 50 per cent of renters received a rent increase in the year up to February.
The government is expected to publish its long-awaited Renters Reform Bill this week with housing secretary Michael Gove promising the legislation will mean tenants will be “better protected against arbitrary rent increases”. However, the Conservative party has repeatedly rejected calls for a rent freeze, warning that controls damage supply, standards and investment in the private-rented sector.
“We’re choosing to take the side of renters by demanding the government introduce a rent freeze,” said Khan. “We’re choosing to reject the notion that housing is an asset, rather than a basic necessity. And we’re choosing to crackdown on dodgy landlords, stand up for working Londoners and get tough with developers.
Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter