DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
Housing

Sadiq Khan wants a rent freeze to give renters ‘badly needed respite’

The London Mayor renewed his call to tackle rising rents just days before the government is expected to publish the Renters Reform Bill to give tenants more power to take on rent increases

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants a rent freeze

Sadiq Khan says he has increased house-building in London but admits it won't be enough to deal with the English capital's housing crisis. Image: Greater London Authority

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

“Of course, we still have a long way to go [in solving the housing crisis]. I’m not complacent. Even though we’re breaking records, I know not all Londoners will see or feel this progress yet.  

“The fact demand for housing outstrips supply is why I’ll continue fighting the corner of renters – putting pressure on the government not only to improve renters’ rights, but to give me the powers to introduce a rent control system for London that would allow me to freeze rents and give renters badly needed respite.”

It’s the second time in two weeks that Khan has claimed to smash his own targets on house-building in London. At the start of May, the London Mayor said City Hall had funded 10,000 new council house starts in the last year, claiming that was more than double the rest of England combined.

Now Khan said the Mayor’s affordable homes programme has delivered 116,000 genuinely affordable homes in the last eight years with construction started on 25,658 properties last year, up from 18,840 in 2021/22.

The Westminster government has its own affordable homes programme which is promising to invest £11.5bn in building 180,000 new homes in England. A total of £4bn of that funding will be spent in London.

Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription

However, while Khan has hailed his own house-building efforts, he also admitted there is no sign of London’s housing crisis coming to an end any time soon.

Research by City Hall and Savills published in December found that London needs £4.9bn a year between 2023-24 and 2027-28 to deliver the 130,000 affordable homes needed to combat sky-high house prices and rents.

Khan said: “I’ve always been honest with Londoners – that the housing crisis was decades in the making and it will take time to fix. It will be a marathon, not a sprint. But, thanks to the exercise of concerted political will, we’re moving in the right direction.”

Article continues below

Current vacancies...

Search jobs

Geeta Nanda, chair of housing association Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing and the G15, a group of London’s biggest housing associations, added: “Tackling the housing crisis London faces is an absolute priority for G15 housing associations.

“To meet this challenge, we urgently need a credible and well-resourced plan for affordable housing in London and across the country. This will take partnerships across the housing sector, and between different tiers of government, to deliver.”

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
'I want to get out': The fight for people with learning disabilities to live at home – not hospitals
Learning Disability Week 2024

'I want to get out': The fight for people with learning disabilities to live at home – not hospitals

Labour unveils plan to fix rental crisis and immediately axe no-fault evictions
Labour will ban no-fault evictions, confirms Angela Rayner and Keir Starmer
RENTING

Labour unveils plan to fix rental crisis and immediately axe no-fault evictions

'All my stuff is ruined now': Renter speaks out after home flooded with faeces and sewage
Privste renter Decoda Smith
RENTING

'All my stuff is ruined now': Renter speaks out after home flooded with faeces and sewage

Council charges Grenfell residents cleaning fee for memorial to victims: 'Who would think this was fair?'
Grenfell memorial
Grenfell

Council charges Grenfell residents cleaning fee for memorial to victims: 'Who would think this was fair?'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know