1 February 2016
Greens will give one third of all Londoners membership of a private Renters’ Union Nearly a million households – comprising nearly 2.3 million people – will be automatically represented by the London Renters Union if the Greens take City Hall, the party’s mayoral candidate Sian Berry has promised.
The Renters Union will enable members to organise to rein in private rents, expose rogue lettings agents and launch a Londonwide Landlord Register.
It could also provide advice and support to individual rents, support renters taking legal action against private landlords, and give private renters a stronger voice able to feed into and lobby for policies developed by London’s boroughs and the Mayor of London.
Sian Berry, who is the only candidate for Mayor of London to rent her own home and has recalled feeling one rent-hike away from being driven out of the capital, said: “We desperately need the government to bring in root-and-branch reforms to address the problems faced by a private renters, who have seen average rents rise 11 percent in London since 2012 while average pay has risen just 1 percent.
She has been lobbying MPs and her fellow candidates for Mayor to press for legislation allowing the Mayor of London to replace Assured Shorthold Tenancies with much better contracts with stronger protection for tenants, The end of a tenancy now the leading cause of homelessness, accounting for four in 10 cases across London. Sian added: “The problem is urgent and Greens in City Hall won’t just sit and wait for those reforms. We will help renters to help themselves now.”
Samir Jeraj, the Green candidate for the North East London constituency (comprising the boroughs of Waltham Forest, Hackney and Islington) in May’s elections, and co-author of the forthcoming book The Rent Trap, said: “Renters need a strong voice to counter the power of the landlord lobby. A renters' union would build on the amazing work being done by renter groups in London and give them the support they need to hold the Mayor to account, and demand action from councils to raise standards in renting."