Sadiq Khan has recently experienced an incredible amount of backlash from the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) as a result of his announcement of his plans to hold a summit on the private rented sector (PRS). Ben Beadle, CEO of the NRLA, has released a censorious satement in which he argues that "If the Mayor wants to address the cost pressures faced by households across London, he needs to focus on boosting the number of homes available. Anything else would merely be tinkering with the symptoms of the challenges in the rental market, without tackling the root cause of them."

Two days ago, London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for an emergency private renting summit, averring that approximately half of all renters in London could default on their rent. He proclaimed that roughly 40% of Londoners believe they may struggle to afford to pay their rent in six months time. This declaration is supported by the fact that the average rental price in London is around £2,500 monthly, which is more than twice the rental prices in other areas within the UK. In addition, the average advertised London rent price is £2,343 in London according to Khan, which is incredibly more than in other parts of the UK. Consequently, the London Mayor has attempted to support renters in the city, intending to freeze rents in London in an endeavour to "urgently protect renters increasingly at risk of losing their homes".

"London’s private renters are facing a triple whammy with rising rents, bills, and the cost of household essentials putting a major strain on their finances. Ministers must take this crisis seriously and act now. Our demands to ministers are simple: implement your long-promised renters reform legislation and take action now to make rents more affordable for Londoners, using all powers at the government’s disposal": London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Alicia Kennedy, Director of Generation Rent, believes that "The government can alleviate rising living costs for renters immediately with a freeze on rents on existing tenancies and suspension of Section 21 evictions so landlords can’t evict simply to re-let at a higher rent". Jacky Peacock OBE, Head of Policy for Advice for Renters, says "Private renters are among the hardest hit as the cost-of-living crisis deepens. Renters were promised a reform of the sector in December 2019.  Three years’ later, they are still waiting". Moreover, Kiran Ramchandani, Director of Policy and External Affairs for Crisis, adds that "The solutions are simple – increasing housing benefit so it covers the cheapest third of rents will ensure that people can afford to keep their homes this winter. We need to see no-fault evictions banned for good so that no one is uprooted from their home without reason".

To summarise the situation, Beadle states that "It is disappointing in the extreme that the Mayor of London feels he can solve the challenges faced in the capital’s rental market without any input from those who actually provide the homes. The stark and simple reality is that whilst the demand for private rented housing in London continues to increase, the supply of such homes is falling. This is a direct consequence of Government policy aimed at shrinking the size of the sector, along with rhetoric from the Mayor that suggests private landlords are simply a problem to be managed". It is clear that the PRS is a topic of great controversy and concern within London at the moment. The government seems to be ignoring the wishes of the people who are directly affected by their policies, a rather perplexing decision.

The Negotiator

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