City Hall has defended its record in standing up for private renters after Labour branded Boris Johnson’s flagship London Rental Standard – a scheme designed to drive up standards in the sector – as ‘a flop’.
Landlords who sign up to the LRS receive a badge of accreditation intended to reassure prospective tenants that they’re dealing with a reputable landlord who will maintain the property and keep their deposit secure.
When announcing the scheme last year, City Hall said the Mayor had “set a target to accredit 100,000 landlords and agents by 2016.”
However figures published on the Greater London Authority website show that just 14,350 of London’s 300,000 private landlords have signed up so far – an increase of around 840 on the numbers belonging to earlier accreditation schemes.
Tom Copley, Labour’s housing spokesman on the London Assembly, says the rate of growth means “it will take over one hundred years before the Mayor fulfils his promise.”
“We need real change in the private rented sector. Londoners need the peace of mind and security of longer tenancy agreements, caps on rent increases and an end to no fault evictions.
“Instead Boris Johnson’s soft touch and self-regulatory approach is leaving private renters with little protection from bad landlords.”
City Hall says it decided to focus on signing up letting agents rather than individual landlords in order to boost the number of tenants who benefit from the scheme’s protections.
Richard Blakeway, deputy mayor for housing, said: “Most landlords own just one property, whereas signing up a single branch of a letting agency reaches an estimated 200 homes.
“As a result of this targeting, the number of homes now managed by a London Rental Standard accredited trained professional now stands at a record 121,000.
“This is a huge success in one year and we look forward to working with thousands more landlords and agents to help get a better deal for renters as this scheme grows.”