The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is calling for London’s 292,000 social housing tenants and shared owners to receive a “government-funded rebate to compensate for looming social rent increases next April”.
The Mayor is calling on the Government to go further than the proposed cap on social rents by providing an effective rent freeze for residents.
This would be achieved by “giving social housing residents – including shared owners who are currently not covered by the Government’s plans – a rebate on any increases that landlords make next year”.
He says the plan could “be fully paid for by housing benefit savings” that Government will make, whichever level of rent cap it decides on.
The Mayor is also calling on the Government to scrap the benefit cap, which “unfairly targets larger families”.
By arguing for a rent rebate rather than a conventional rent freeze, the Mayor’s proposal would “prevent the complete choking off of new social housing supply and essential maintenance work”.
Councils and housing associations wouldn’t contribute a penny more than what is set out by Government in response to their rent cap consultation.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Londoners living in social housing are on the front line of the cost of living crisis, facing ever increasing bills and costs. That’s why I am urging Ministers to implement a rent freeze for social housing tenants via a rebate to compensate for any upcoming social rent increases.
“I have called repeatedly for a rent freeze for London’s private renters. Those in social housing and shared owners should also get the benefits this would bring too.
“We are now building council homes in London at a rate not seen since the 1970s, but the Government needs to help ensure that inflation doesn’t render these homes unaffordable for those who need them. A social housing rent freeze is the only sensible solution as we continue to build a London that is fairer for everyone.”
Dinah Roake, Chair of the London Housing Panel said: “As the Chair of the London Housing Panel, I welcome the Mayor’s position that government should implement a rent freeze, via a rebate scheme, for social housing tenants (including shared owners) whose rents are not covered by benefits and who will be dealing with immense pressures already in the current cost-of-living crisis.
“The panel also recognises the need for more government investment in existing and new social housing. The need for more new high-quality social housing is only increasing in the current context.
“For the majority of Londoners who are currently homeless, living in temporary accommodation, or living under precarious housing conditions, social rented homes are the most secure and affordable tenure – and desperately needed.”