New House of Commons analysis shows that over two million private renting households in England currently pay more than a third of their income in rent. The number of households paying more than a third of their income on rent is much higher across London, and in Tower Hamlets households are spending on average 58% of their income on rent.
Spending over a third of income on rent is considered by Shelter and others as a benchmark of whether private renters are paying too much in rent.
Tower Hamlets, with a growing private rented sector which now accounts for 42% of all homes in the borough, has introduced a range of measures to drive up standards and protect tenants and has introduced landlord licensing but government rules limit council powers. The council has also introduced a Private Renters’ Charter to set out the standards that tenants should expect.
Official figures for England and Wales show that the building of homes for affordable home ownership has fallen to a 27 year low under the Conservatives and the number of new social rented homes has fallen by over 80%, so we are now building 30,000 fewer socially rented homes each year than under Labour. With fewer social rented homes, more families are living in private rented homes with much higher rents, making it harder for families to meet rising housing costs.
Labour has pledged to build a million affordable homes over ten years including homes for living rent linked to a third of average local household incomes. In Tower Hamlets, Mayor John Biggs has pledged to deliver 2,000 council homes and has redefined council rents so they are closer to genuine social rent levels, saving residents up to £6,000 a year.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The number of privately rented homes in Tower Hamlets has increased significantly and as a council we’ve cracked down on rogue landlords and focussed on improving standards.
“But after nine years of failure the Conservatives have no plan to fix the housing crisis and new social housebuilding has dropped across the country to the lowest levels since the Second World War. It’s clear we need urgent action from the government or the crisis will only get worse.”
Councillor Sirajul Islam, Deputy Mayor for Housing, said: “Tower Hamlets sits right on the frontline of the Tory housing crisis and these new rental figures show exactly what that can mean for people in our borough. We’ve repeatedly called on the government to give local councils more powers to tackle the housing crisis, such as extending our landlord licensing powers. It’s time they listened.”