London mayor Ken Livingstone today published a draft housing strategy for London and backed measures to encourage institutional investment in the residential sector.
Speaking at a conference at lunchtime he said the private rented sector was ‘enjoying a renaissance in London’ and he would encourage institutional investment in the private rented sector and work to minimise the problems of fragmented ownership in developments through the housing strategy. The strategy admitted that ‘too many landlords still provide poor value for money, inadequate maintenance and bad management’.
The British Property Federation (BPF) welcomed the plan and said it was in ‘sharp contrast’ with the recent housing Green paper, which was silent on the use and role of the private rented sector. It called for the government to look at adopting the housing plan across the country.
It said encouraging more property companies to develop and invest in the private rented sector would boost supply, improve service and provide quality professionally run accommodation for those unable to get on the private housing ladder, and who do not qualify for social housing.
It said: ‘The Mayor offers tough love – directing boroughs that the private rented sector should be used more to discharge their homelessness duties, but only with landlords that are accredited and offering longer tenancies.
Ian Fletcher, director for residential policy, said: ‘We fully support the Mayor's call for a quality private rented sector and believe that cannot be achieved without private institutional investment…what Britain needs is therefore massive corporate investment to build homes to rent.’
The strategy, which will become a part of the mayor’s overarching London Plan, has set a key target of developing a further 30,500 homes each year to 2016 of which 50% should be affordable providing an additional 50,000 affordable homes between 2008 and 2011. It forms part of new housing and planning powers, to be granted by Parliament to the mayor giving him direct responsibility for London’s affordable housing budget worth over £1bn a year.