Tom Copley AM strongly welcomes ballots for estate residents facing demolition in new Mayor’s guidance

February 2nd, 2018

The government must get its house in order on the home sharing economy

January 29th, 2018

DCLG rebrand won’t help the housing crisis unless adequate funding is made available

January 9th, 2018

Tom Copley AM responds to the Mayor’s draft Housing Strategy

December 13th, 2017

Government must introduce mandatory electrical safety checks

November 8th, 2017

Government has turned its back on the homeless

November 8th, 2017

Tom Copley AM strongly welcomes ballots for estate residents facing demolition in new Mayor’s guidance

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Responding to the Mayor of London’s announcement that residents will be balloted on estate regeneration, Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, said:

“Estate residents are generally the only group of people who face the prospect of having their homes demolished, so I strongly welcome the Mayor’s decision to require ballots where demolition takes place as a condition of funding for regeneration schemes. Estate regeneration when done well can deliver better quality homes and more affordable housing. But without resident support, schemes can face being blighted from the start. I’m pleased that the Mayor has listened to community groups, as well as the unanimous voice of the London Assembly.

“It’s important that it’s actual residents who have their say. Therefore I would urge that private tenants on estates are balloted, rather than the non-resident landlords they rent from.

“I welcome the reassurance from the Mayor that there will be no net loss of social housing, and that replacement homes will be delivered on the basis of floorspace rather than total number of units. This is crucial to prevent the loss of much needed family-sized homes. It’s essential that this guidance operates as a floor of expectations of good practice in London, and that as far as possible regeneration is led by or done in partnership with residents.”

Ends

Notes

  • Tom Copley is a Londonwide Assembly Member

The government must get its house in order on the home sharing economy

Monday, January 29th, 2018

Airbnb rentals grew by 50 per cent in London between 2016 and 2017. [1]

A new report out today by London Assembly Member Tom Copley is calling for more effective regulation of short-term lettings to clamp down on people who break the law by turning their homes into hotels by the back door.

The massive growth in the sharing economy has gazumped the government and radically transformed the short-term rental market in London. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and a decade later now lists over a million properties in many different cities across the world.

Local and national governments have been slow to adapt. Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms have become embroiled in bitter political battles over the lack of housing supply and increasing amenity pressures on some local communities. Sharing platforms are not the primary cause of the strain on long-term housing, but the huge growth in the sector is adding pressure. It’s clear that short-term letting platforms are here to stay, so it’s crucial that the regulatory framework is robust.

In 2015, the Government’s Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government changed the law around short-term lets when it limited short-term letting of whole residential premises in London to a maximum of 90 days in a calendar year.  [2]

However, London boroughs have never had immediate access to any information that confirms a property is being used for short-term lettings and there is no requirement to notify a borough of such an intention or use. Instead, the impetus is on boroughs to prove that a home is not only available for 90 nights a year but has been booked and occupied.

Without accurate data on the number of nights booked, boroughs are only alerted through reports from local residents, requiring pro-active evidence gathering by the local authority. Without access to data, it is impossible to investigate and effectively enforce against breaches in short-term lettings. [3]

From 1st January 2017, Airbnb chose to voluntarily enforce the 90-day limit, but so-far other platforms have been slow to follow suit. A recent report by Airbnb found that in the year since the enforcement was introduced properties booked for more than 90 nights had dropped from 21 per cent of the total to 7 per cent. [4]

The Labour London Assembly spokesperson on Housing, Tom Copley said:

“Airbnb’s decision last year to voluntarily enforce the 90-day limit on short-term lets was a very welcome step forward, but they’re no longer the only player in the market. It’s vital that they and other short-term rental platforms continue to engage with local communities and city authorities. They should be looking to work with national and local government to help lay the right regulatory framework to protect long-term housing and build cohesive communities. 

“Let’s sort out information sharing immediately – for everyone’s peace of mind. Cash-strapped local authorities are struggling to enforce against people who turn their homes into hotels by the back door. We need home-sharing platforms to share data with councils to help them target the minority of hosts who abuse the system.

“Government should also legislate to require that short-term lettings hosts register with their local authority. This should be simple and free.  None of this is rocket science – it’s simply catching up with and effectively regulating new technology.

“I’m horrified that breaches of security, especially around door codes, are accompanied by anecdotes of extreme problems for neighbours, including confrontations with guests and properties being used for parties or even brothels. Given these impacts on neighbours, it is unsurprising London’s most affected local authorities are so concerned about the issues raised by short-term lets. Let’s give them the tools they need to clamp down on abuses of the system.”  

Ends

Notes

  1. GLA (2017) Housing in London: 2017 The evidence base for the Mayor’s Housing Strategy available at: https://files.datapress.com/london/dataset/housing-london/2017-01-26T18:50:00/Housing-in-London-2017-report.pdf [Accessed 14.8.17] pg.67
  2. DCLG (2015) Promoting the Sharing Economy in London: Policy on short-term residential use in London p6.  Properties cannot be used as temporary sleeping accommodation on a permanent basis throughout the year, and any impact on local amenity is kept within acceptable limits.
  3. Evidence of Councillor, at the Short-term Lets in a Housing Crisis Roundtable, City Hall, 21/2/17
  4. Airbnb, (2017), Bringing You Home Sharing By Region, pg.46
  5. Tom Copley AM’s report ‘More BnB? Short-term Lets in London’s Housing Crisis’ recommendations include:
  • The Mayor of London should continue to put pressure on platforms to voluntarily share their data with local authorities to assist with enforcement activity. If voluntary measures are not effective then the Mayor should campaign for the government to change legislation to force websites to hand over the details of property owners suspected of for breaking the 90 day year limit on short-term lets.
  • The Mayor should encourage home-sharing platforms to follow Airbnb’s lead by voluntarily enforcing the 90-day limit.
  • The Mayor should lobby the government to hand over to the Mayor of London the power to determine applications from boroughs to ban the renting out of whole properties for short-term lets using Article 4 directions.
  • The Mayor should lobby the government to legislate that short-term lettings hosts must register with their local authority. This should be a simple and free process.
  • The Mayor should write to local authorities asking them to ensure their leasehold agreements require that the property be used as a permanent residence and write to all their leaseholders informing them of this.
  • The Mayor should write to Housing Associations and ask them to write to their shared ownership leaseholders reminding them that they must not sub-let their home, including on a short-term basis.
  • The Mayor should write to short-term lettings management companies asking them to advise homeowners of their legal obligations, and to refuse to let a property for more than 90 days without planning permission.
  • Home-sharing platforms should consider creating an ombudsman paid for by the industry to prevent home-sharing fraud, help with enforcement, solve resolution disputes, investigate complaints, and help redistribute the responsibility for enforcement away from cash-strapped councils. The Mayor should facilitate a discussion with home-sharing platforms on this.

DCLG rebrand won’t help the housing crisis unless adequate funding is made available

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Responding to the rebranding of the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the new appointment of Dominic Raab as Minister of State for Housing, Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, said:

“If the Prime Minister was intending to give the impression that she is taking the housing crisis seriously by rebranding the department, she has failed. Swapping one housing minister for another after just seven months shows that there is still a revolving door at the department. What we need from the Prime Minister is not a rebrand or a reshuffle but additional funding for affordable housing.

“The Mayor has been clear that we need 66,000 new homes a year to tackle London’s housing crisis but he has not been handed the adequate funding to make that happen. It’s time this government showed they were about more than gesture politics and the only way to do so is by stumping up the cash for the many thousands of genuinely affordable homes we so desperately need.”

Ends

Notes

  • Tom Copley is a Londonwide Assembly Member

Tom Copley AM responds to the Mayor’s draft Housing Strategy

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Tom Copley AM has responded to the Mayor of London’s new draft Housing Strategy on behalf of the London Assembly Labour Group.

His response is available here.

Government must introduce mandatory electrical safety checks

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Responding to the Government’s failure to include mandatory electrical checks in its report on electrical safety in the private rented sector, Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, said:

“Mandatory electrical safety tests are already in place in Scotland and are expected to be brought in in Wales, it’s completely unfair that the government refuse to give the same protection to renters in England.

“London has the largest private rented sector in the UK, and more fires occur in private rented homes than any other tenure. We already have annual gas safety checks. Five-yearly electrical safety tests are hardly an onerous extra burden to place on landlords.

“Across the capital many people are also using white goods that, without their knowledge, pose a serious fire risk and are subject to recall. Mandatory checks could mean these are identified before they result in serious harm. However, we also need the government to get behind the London Fire Brigade’s Total Recalls campaign which includes the call for a central record of appliances flagged for recall.

“These avoidable fires can do untold damage to people’s lives and their homes, and I urge the government to reconsider their light touch approach.”

Ends
Notes 
  • In December 2016, the London Assembly backed a unanimous motion for the Government to introduce mandatory electrical safety checks to be conducted every five years;Information about the London Fire Brigades Total Recalls campaign can be foundhere;
  • Tom Copley is a Londonwide Assembly Member

Government has turned its back on the homeless

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Responding to today’s report from Shelter which found that more than 300,000 people in Britain are homeless, with all but two of the worst 20 boroughs in London, Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, said:

“Recently the National Audit Office warned that government welfare policies are directly contributing to the homelessness crisis. These appalling figures show that the Government has wilfully turned its back on those who’ve had the misfortune to find themselves homeless.

“With the need for 66,000 new homes a year to tackle London’s housing crisis – the majority of which must be genuinely affordable – the Government cannot miss the opportunity at this year’s budget to hand the Mayor the funding to make this happen.

“Right now we’ve got a Prime Minister who has prioritised pumping £10 billion into Help to Buy, inflating house prices in the process, rather than committing the funding to build hundreds of thousands of much needed social houses. The need to pave the way for longer tenancies doesn’t even appear to be on the Government’s radar and they chose capping benefits over capping rent increases.

“The Mayor has pledged £9 million a year to tackle rough sleeping, but this must be matched by determined action from the Government to tackle the chronic shortage of affordable housing and abandon their punitive welfare cuts and caps.

“We know so much about the causes of homelessness, but if we don’t start applying the solutions this picture is only going to become even more bleak.”

Ends
Notes
  • In September, a report from the National Audit Office criticised the government’s ‘light touch’ on dealing with homeslessness;
  • Research from Shelter shows that 307,000 people are homeless in Britain today (Shelter’s review combined official rough-sleeping, temporary accommodation, and social services figures);
  • Research from Shelter, in the table below, sets out the top 50 areas with the highest rates of recorded as homelessness. Only two boroughs in the top 20 are outside London:

Table 1: Top 50 areas with highest rates of recorded as homelessness (comprises temp. accommodation and rough sleeping figures only)

Local Authority Region Number of people living in TA Number of people rough sleeping Total homeless people Total people 1 in x people are homeless National Rank
Newham London

13,566

41

13,607

340,978

25

1

Haringey London

9,688

29

9,717

278,451

29

2

Westminster London

7,794

260

8,054

247,614

31

3

Enfield London

10,051

6

10,057

331,395

33

4

Kens & Chels London

4,387

14

4,401

156,726

36

5

Waltham Forest London

7,587

47

7,634

275,843

36

6

Brent London

8,881

24

8,905

328,254

37

7

Barking & Dag London

5,573

5

5,578

206,460

37

8

Tower Hamlets London

7,417

11

7,428

304,854

41

9

Hackney London

6,150

17

6,167

273,526

44

10

Redbridge London

6,197

60

6,257

299,249

48

11

Lewisham London

6,198

16

6,214

301,867

49

12

Hamm & Fulham London

3,515

6

3,521

179,654

51

13

Luton East of England

4,113

76

4,189

216,791

52

14

Ealing London

6,529

27

6,556

343,196

52

15

Croydon London

7,007

68

7,075

382,304

54

16

Barnet London

7,011

22

7,033

386,083

55

17

Lambeth London

5,656

17

5,673

327,910

58

18

Southwark London

4,955

32

4,987

313,223

63

19

Brighton & Hove South East

4,074

144

4,218

289,229

69

20

Wandsworth London

4,590

5

4,595

316,096

69

21

Bromley London

4,478

3

4,481

326,889

73

22

Broxbourne East of England

1,301

3

1,304

96,779

74

23

Bexley London

2,918

11

2,929

244,760

84

24

Birmingham West Midlands

12,730

55

12,785

1,124,569

88

25

Kingston London

1,910

23

1,933

176,107

91

26

Hounslow London

2,744

34

2,778

271,139

98

27

Harrow London

2,358

10

2,368

248,752

105

28

Milton Keynes South East

2,358

38

2,396

264,479

110

29

Islington London

1,916

11

1,927

232,865

121

30

Harlow East of England

681

20

701

85,995

123

31

City of London London

25

50

75

9,401

125

32

Havering London

1,932

24

1,956

252,783

129

33

Slough South East

1,092

25

1,117

147,181

132

34

Hillingdon London

2,166

28

2,194

302,471

138

35

Watford East of England

662

13

675

96,773

143

36

Sutton London

1,331

8

1,339

202,220

151

37

Manchester North West

3,433

78

3,511

541,263

154

38

Gosport South East

527

6

533

85,363

160

39

Dartford South East

633

9

642

105,543

164

40

Reading South East

956

22

978

162,666

166

41

Bristol, City of South West

2,600

74

2,674

454,213

170

42

Basildon East of England

1,062

17

1,079

183,378

170

43

Dacorum East of England

867

6

873

152,692

175

44

Epsom & Ewell South East

425

3

428

79,588

186

45

Peterborough East of England

1,021

21

1,042

197,095

189

46

Camden London

1,254

17

1,271

246,181

194

47

New Forest South East

886

4

890

179,236

201

48

Greenwich London

1,379

8

1,387

279,766

202

49

Chelmsford East of England

817

14

831

174,089

209

50

Compiled from official statistics on temporary accommodation (as at Q2 2017) and rough sleeping (Autumn 2016). TA figures adjusted to estimate total number of people (adults and children), rather than households.
  • Tom Copley AM is a Londonwide Assembly Member

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March 19th, 2014

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