The new Mayor of London, to be decided in an election tomorrow, has just received a six point set of demands from Propertymark.
The Mayor - currently Labour’s Sadiq Khan, who is favourite to retain the role - is in charge of a £19 billion budget and has a role in housing, planning and the environment. However, Khan has made it clear that he wants the role (whoever occupies it) to have greater power, especially for controlling elements of the private rental sector.
Now Propertymark has set out six priorities for the new Mayor.
1. Support homeowners and landlords with energy efficiency improvements – expand the Mayor’s Energy for Londoner's programme to support owners and landlords to make energy efficiency improvements to property, reduce energy consumption, bring down the cost of people’s bills and help achieve London’s ambition of being zero-carbon by 2050.
2. Release land for residential development – a greater focus on speeding up planning within councils and building on land under the Mayor’s responsibility will ultimately allow more properties to be built and help make housing in London more affordable. The Greater London Authority as well as Transport for London and the National Health Service should release land for residential development and ensure that development works alongside local needs including for families and older people.
3. Greater partnership working – the Mayor should use their influence to increase collaboration between local authorities across London in order to improve coordination, enforcement, and information sharing to drive forward standards and compliance in the property sector.
4. Encourage employers to support renters – the Mayor should work with employers across London to offer tenancy deposit loans to more Londoners. These schemes can help staff secure a property without incurring financial difficulty leading to debt and they can also help companies recruit and retain staff.
5. Avoid rent control – despite the Mayor not having the power to do so, some candidates have promoted the desire to introduce rent control measures in London. Propertymark sees no advantages in restricting rent increases or introducing any rent stabilisation measures. Flexible tenancies and rent prices driven by market forces have led to the success of the private rented sector in London and across the UK. It is vital that landlords are not deterred from the market and have the finances to invest and improve property standards.
6. Short-term lets – more needs to be done to identify ways to improve enforcement of cases in which commercial landlords are not complying with local planning laws or the 90-day limit for short-term lets in London. It is important that the enforcement authorities can distinguish between using a primary residence for short-term lets when the property is being under-utilised and commercial landlords renting out entire properties on a full-time basis.