One of the biggest issues facing Londoners in 2020 is a lack of affordable housing. With too few properties and too many would-be buyers, those who can’t find a home of their own are increasingly being forced to rent, and there are many taking advantage.
With a sudden influx of interested tenants, lots of landlords have hiked their prices, so that London is now among the most expensive places in the world to rent. It creates a situation where those who most need a home are unable to afford what’s on the market.
This is an issue that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has vowed to resolve. We take a look at what he’s done and how likely it is to positively impact his re-election ambitions.
A Helping Hand for London Locals
The role of the London mayor is, quite simply, to make life better for the city’s population, and this is something Sadiq Khan has arguably striven to achieve during his time in office. Whether his efforts have been appreciated, however, will largely be demonstrated by the 2020 election, in which he hopes to be voted in once more.
As those betting on politics can attest, Mr Khan currently has a very good chance of making it back into office. The odds on favourite at 1/5, his re-election seems almost certain. So ,how have his housing policies contributed to this state of affairs?
Housing is one of the biggest issues facing Londoners in 2020 and that’s put it high on their agenda. With charity Shelter stating in 2018 that 170,000 of the city’s residents would be homeless by Christmas, Mr Khan responded with action.
One of his first measures was to introduce rent controls, to prevent private landlords from imposing an annual price increase on their tenants. He first considered such a move all the way back in 2016 but claimed at the time that he didn’t have the legislative power to act on his ambitions.
Voicing his frustration at this inability to help private renters, Mr Khan remained active in seeking to achieve his goal, later announcing the development of a specialist property checker. The idea behind this was that rule-breaking landlords would be exposed to much greater scrutiny in order to stop them from taking advantage.
Efforts to Meet Ambitious Housing Targets
As well as seeking to help private renters, Mr Khan was vocal about his desire to make homes in the capital more affordable. To achieve this, he set ambitious housing targets, including one to build 50,000 new homes per year in the capital while in office.
He also stated a desire to develop new social housing and to prevent estate demolition schemes where they did not have the support of the community or actively benefit them. In this respect, however, Mr Khan fell short.
While efforts were undoubtedly made, 200 London housing estates were placed under the threat of estate regeneration, with or without the support of residents. Nor did his Affordable Homes Programme quite fit the bill, with many less affluent Londoners still priced out of either owning or renting such properties.
Though Mr Khan has undoubtedly made positive steps forward during his time in office, it’s therefore fair to say that much more still needs to be done. While there is, arguably, an improved framework to work with moving forward, it’s impossible to say whether or not the current London mayor will be the one to take advantage.