The London Tenants Federation (LTF) is urging Sadiq Khan to ease the squeeze on family-sized social rented homes across the capital.
In an article published today (April 30), LTF pushes for the mayoral enforcement of planning powers over the provision for such homes.
LTF calls on Khan to set a London Plan target for 50% of new social rented homes to have three bedrooms or more to address overcrowding in social housing in 10 years.
The draft new London Plan advises boroughs against setting targets for new family sized market homes and only to ‘provide guidance’ for provision of family sized social rented homes.
“The only thing that will get cost-sensitive councils and housing associations building family-sized social housing is a clear London-wide target,” said Jacob Secker of the Haringey Federation of Residents Associations.
“Without this, boroughs will continue to miss opportunities to build larger homes, letting down yet another generation of young people without space to do their homework or go through adolescence with dignity.”
According to the 2017/18 English Housing Survey, overcrowding in the social housing sector across England increased from 7% in 2016/17 to 8%.
London has higher levels of overcrowding.
The Mayor’s own tables – based on 2015/16 English Housing Survey data – show almost 100,000 (13.4%) London social rented homes being overcrowded.
Those same tables also show the proportion of children living in overcrowded homes is 36% in the social housing sector compared to 23% nationally and 28% in the private rented sector compared to 15% across the country.
A recent National Education Union poll of teachers in England found that 46% believed that “poor quality, insecure, overcrowded or temporary accommodation” was affecting their students’ learning.
“The Mayor’s assessment highlights the needs of single ‘hidden homeless’ people, who would ideally be allocated one beds of their own. But of course, in reality social housing allocations policies tend to favour families with children, who then end up in unsuitable accommodation,” said Secker.
“The solution is clearly to build larger homes as demonstrated in a London Assembly Housing Committee report back in 2011. The cumulative effect of building one six-bedroom house has the potential to lift 36 people out of overcrowding, leaving an empty one-bedroom home at the end of the chain,” he said.