OPINION

We’re on your side, Labour leader tells tenants

Posted On 04 Jul 2021 at 12:05 am

With over 8,200 people on the housing waiting list in Brighton and Hove and increasing house prices and rents, we are desperate for more affordable homes to be built in the right places in the city.

However, according to a parliamentary Select Committee, the Tory government’s proposed planning reforms will not speed up housebuilding or make the process cheaper.

Tory plans will mean that local authorities and residents have even less control over development in their areas.

That means less protection for our green spaces, less opportunity to provide affordable homes and more freedom for developers to ride roughshod over local concerns for a quick profit.

These plans are virtually a “developers’ charter” that will prevent communities from influencing decisions about their own areas and deny more affordable housing as well as vital funding for building schools, GP surgeries and community infrastructure.

Instead of side-lining councils and communities, the government should focus on building much needed high-quality, genuinely affordable and environmentally sustainable housing.

Labour strongly oppose the deeply worrying planning proposals.

Residents also need assurances about the quality and management of homes in the private rented sector.

The private rented sector is a disproportionately large sector in Brighton and Hove, comprising just over 30 per cent of homes.

At present we do not hold sufficient information about who manages them or how they are managed.

Evidence from tenants’ groups such as Acorn and CAB (Citizens Advice) indicates that in some areas the conditions that renters are enduring are well below an acceptable standard.

Disrepair and poor, unsafe conditions are common. Tenants often feel unable to challenge landlords or agents who refuse or fail to make repairs or keep homes safe, because they fear rent increases or retaliatory eviction. Insecure tenancies and no-fault evictions exacerbate the precarious nature of being a renter.

In February last year, at Brighton and Hove City Council’s annual budget council meeting, Labour pushed for councillors to agree additional funding of £150,000 for the Private Sector Housing Team to enable a more proactive approach to enforcement helping to raise standards.

From selective landlord licensing, to an ethical lettings agency and a landlords charter, Labour have a plan to improve conditions for private renters in the city – and we will continue to push the Green administration to implement meaningful change.

Private rental sector tenants – Labour is on your side.

Councillor John Allcock is the joint leader of the Labour opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Thank goodmess that rebellion by some Labour councillors two decades ago stopped its own Housing from being farmed out.

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