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Council rent increases are failing London's poorest residents

MASSIVE council rent increases are failing London’s poorest residents, tenants stormed today.

The London Tenants Federation (LTF) pointed to recent analysis showing that average council rents across London’s boroughs rocketed by around 90 per cent between 2002 and 2018.

In 2002, council tenants would give an average of 29 per cent of their incomes on rents and related charges.

But by 2014, they were spending an average of 35 per cent of their incomes on rent, with additional service charges.

At that point then-chancellor George Osborne accounced a four-year 1 per cent reduction in social rents starting in 2016, leading to a slight drop in the proportion of low-income families’ income going on rent.

But the LTF warns that the cap merely lead to a huge rise in service charges and rents are expected to start rising by inflation plus 1 per cent again in April.

The campaign group called on national-housing regulators to ensure that there is public transparency over the cost of social-housing rents and charges, and that tenants gain a greater voice in the rental process.

Haringey Federation of Residents Associations spokesman Jacob Secker said: “Successive government’s rent-setting policies have failed on their own terms and they are failing London’s poorest.

“With rent increases due to start rising again next year, the disparities among social housing tenants, and the mounting pressure on those least able to pay, will only grow.

“It is essential that we have a thorough, tenant-led conversation about social rents to avoid disaster.”

The Labour government introduced target social rents linked to market values under rent restructuring in 2002. This was supposed to reduce arbitrary differences in rents for similar types of properties.

But research by LTF indicates that the gap between council and housing association rent might be even wider now than it was in 2002.

Mr Secker said: “Contrary to what was promised, and thanks to the ‘affordable’ rent regime, we now have an extremely complicated, quite random, unfair and unjustified array of different rents for exactly the same types of rented homes that just don’t reflect what tenants value in their homes.”

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