Richmond Council takes action to support private renters and calls for long term solutions
29 November 2023
Richmond Council is advocating for private renters by urging sustained government commitment to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates and introducing new monitoring standards of the local housing landscape.
After months of lobbying by Richmond Council, the government has answered calls for unfreezing LHA rates to cover at least 30% of local market rents. However, as concerns remain around the planned LHA freeze in 2025 and beyond, the Council is calling on the government to make a long-term commitment to link LHA levels to local market rents.
Councillor Jim Millard, Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Member for Housing said:
"We are tirelessly working to ensure everyone has access to good quality, affordable housing. Whilst we welcome the steps taken by the chancellor to unfreeze Local Housing Allowance rates for one year, we call on government to commit to a long-term approach: the pool of landlords willing and able to rent homes within the borough at LHA rates cannot be turned on and off like a tap. If we want to grow and sustain this sector, we need to ensure LHA continues to enable people to cover the rent and that private tenants are not left behind by soaring rental costs.”
The Council has gone on to urge the government to also end the freeze on benefit payable for temporary accommodation, which currently stands at 2011 rates. It is part of the action being urgently undertaken to address the growing temporary accommodation crisis in the borough. In a further boost for private renters, the Council are undertaking a housing stock condition survey of the entire Private Rented Sector (PRS) within Richmond Upon Thames, which aims to assess conditions, maintain regulations and hold landlords to account. The Private Stock Condition Survey will provide valuable insights, enabling the Council to proactively deliver targeted support and improve available services for renters.
Cllr Millard went on to say: “Engaging with private tenants to understand the challenges they face and hold disreputable landlords accountable is crucial to our vision of a safe borough with room for everyone to grow and thrive. By thoroughly examining the private rented sector, we can make sure our resources are effectively distributed to drive consistently high standards across housing in the borough whilst ensuring residents are aware of their rights and get the fair treatment they deserve.”
As Richmond Council continues to address housing challenges, the focus remains on supporting local residents and fostering a thriving community that prioritises safe and affordable housing for everyone.
Up to: November 2023
Updated: 29 November 2023