Whatever the outcome on 5th May, whichever candidate is successful, there is a strong chance London could start to look vastly different by 2020. Following a review of what both Mayoral candidates have pledged so far, it seems little separates the candidates. Aside from the population being predicted to reach 9 million, what other changes could we see? LondonVotes2016 will bring you a series of short blogs to give you an overview of what each aspect of the city might look like in 2020. First up, housing.
When it comes to housing in London, one thing is for sure: there is a housing crisis and many more homes will need to be built by 2020. Housing is at the top of both of the candidates’ agendas: Zac wants to double home building to 50,000 a year by 2020 (a recommendation of the London Land Commission), while Sadiq has pledged to support housing associations to ensure the building of a minimum of 80,000 homes a year.
Affordability and Rent Controls
According to Rightmove, the average London home could cost £1m by 2020. This is in addition to a report that came out this week by the National Housing Federation, who calculated that Londoners need a 266% pay rise in order to buy a home in the capital. “Affordable housing” features heavily within Sadiq’s election pledges, including creating a new form of affordable housing, with a target for 50 percent of all new homes in London to be genuinely affordable. Sadiq also wants to introduce a London Living Rent option with a below-market rent, based on the principle that rent should be around 1/3 of renter’s income and not half. On affordable housing, Sadiq said:
“I’ll build genuinely affordable homes in every London borough. I’ll offer a lifeline to Londoners who are fed up with wasting ‘dead money’ on rent – by bringing home ownership back within reach.
“I’ll cut the cost of buying and give renters first dibs.”
To achieve this, Sadiq has pledged to create a London Homes Team at City Hall, a team dedicated to sorting out the financing of new homes. Sadiq has also pledged to create a London Home Bond, to bring in private investment and fight for greater financial devolution to London, and more freedom for boroughs to invest in affordable homes.
Similarly, under Zac Londoners can hope to gain greater access to new homes, because of his pledge to increase the number of build-to-rent houses. This is also in an effort to reduce the number of new developments being sold to overseas investors, a pledge that Zac shares with Sadiq. Zac has also said he wants to get local communities more involved in decisions that are made about what is built on and in their back gardens:
“If we’re going to get the number of homes built that we need in order to close that gap between supply and demand, we need to do it with community consent. That means not building ugly buildings. It means building a lot, but it also means building well.”
Zac told the NHF Tory housing hustings that one of his focuses will be on empty homes and rogue landlords. According to data obtained by The Guardian, 1,100 London homes have been empty for more than a decade. Under Sadiq, Londoners can also look forward to a decrease in rogue landlords, under his plans to have landlords vetted by local authorities. He also plans to set up a not-for-profit letting agency across London, aimed to promote longer-term, stable tenancies for responsible tenants and good landlords across the capital.