4 out of 10 Westminster residents rent from private landlords and we don’t think many of them are getting a good deal for the rent they are paying. There are a lot of families and individuals having to deal with poor standards, high rents and short tenancies. We think that there are some concrete things Westminster Council could be doing to ensure that this very large and important housing market works better for tenants, good landlords and council tax payers in Westminster.
This year we will have paid £75 million in housing benefit to private landlords, BUT with no idea if that money is subsidising poor standards. Last year the Council had to issue legal notices to one in eight privately rented properties it inspected but we think that is only the tip of the iceberg.
The bottom line is that it needs fixing.
In May you’ll have a chance to vote for a Labour Government, with Ed Miliband already committed to building more homes. But this week you can help us fix the private rented sector in Westminster now.
This Wednesday, 21 January, at 8.30pm in Porchester Hall W2 we are taking a motion to council to push the Tories to take action. Come and join us, add your voice to ours and ensure that the Tories cannot dismiss this important debate.
Having ordinary residents and voters at a Council meeting would put more pressure on the Tories to take this issue seriously and vote in the interests of Westminster.
Our motion (view the motion in full here: Item 11 here – http://committees.westminster.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=175&MId=188) asks for three simple but powerful actions:
•a proper private rented sector strategy that would focus on enforcement and tackling poor standards;
•supporting the idea of a borough-wide licensing scheme that would mean renters looking for a home in Westminster could find safe, good quality landlords;
•push the Government to give local authorities the powers and resources it needs to ensure the private rented sector is properly regulated and a well-running market.
If you have experiences of renting in the private rented sector in Westminster that you want to share then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, we want to hear your stories.
Support us, help us, join us and we can make a real push to improve the private rented sector in Westminster.
Cllr Vincenzo Rampulla
Westminster Councillor for Church Street Ward
Tel: 07900 912 587