TH Mayoral elections: housing manifestos

With the mayoral elections on Thursday (11th June) who should get your vote for a better deal on housing. Well, firstly we should acknowledge the limitations of mayoral powers; they’re not about to bring in rent caps for private renters or suddenly find the money to start building thousands of council homes themselves.

So what can they do?

There are a few things:

  1. Roll out licensing of private landlords across the borough to better protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords and ban them where necessary. The government attempted to limit licensing to 20% of the borough, but can be overturned with permission.
  2. Expand the council’s environmental housing team to investigate tenant complaints of illegal conditions and enforce improvements where appropriate.
  3. Enforce the new letting agent redress scheme that requires agents to be upfront and transparent with fees and deal with complaints.
  4. Ensure every private development delivers a minimum of 35% social housing and a minimum of 50% where the land is owned by the state or housing association that was gifted it as part of a stock transfer.
  5. Where affordable homes are built for the council in exchange for planning permission rents should not exceed 65% of market rates.
  6. There should be no loss of homes rented out at social rates if existing stock is redeveloped.

So what are the mayoral candidates proposing?

Rabina Khan (Independent)

  • Ensure landlord licensing is rolled out across the borough
  • Help private tenants fight against revenge evictions and improve conditions
  • Hold housing associations to account (repeatedly accused of ignoring tenants’ views)
  • Maximise affordable housing from developers
  • Build 5,500 affordable homes
  • Bring TH Homes back under council control (subject to endless complaints)

John Biggs (Labour)

  • Roll out landlord licensing across the borough
  • Clampdown on rogue landlords and improve conditions in private rented sector
  • Ensure housing associations work with tenants to provide a better service
  • Look at bringing TH Homes back under council control
  • More accountability of housing associations

Elaine Bagshaw (Lib Dems)

  • Roll out landlord licensing across the borough
  • Set-up team to investigate tenants’ complaints
  • Set up landlord and tenant rating website
  • Ensure minimum 50% of a social housing redevelopment remains social housing
  • Ensure every social home that is lost is replaced
  • Ensure every private development includes affordable homes
  • Identify empty homes and convert to social housing

John Foster (Greens)

  • Roll out landlord licensing across the borough
  • Prioritise building of social housing
  • Look at regulation to bring empty properties back into use
  • Limit social rents and service charges

Peter Gold (Conservatives)

  • Restructure management at TH Homes
  • Hold public meetings with housing associations and tenants
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