On 23rd of October Brighton and Hove Council recieved a petition signed by over 2,600 people calling for rent controls, better regulation of landlords and greater security for private tenants. The petitioners told about the experiences tenants had been passing on to the Living Rent Campaign, people like Zoe age 37, who lives up many flights of dilapidated stairways, in a tiny (15 square metre) flat costing half of her wages. People forced to leave the city they grew up in.
Brought face to face with how private housing was disfiguring peoples lives the Council were moved to agree the following impressive list of actions to be sent to the Housing committee for consideration:
1) Developing a a licensing scheme for all private landlords
2) Highlighting the hardship caused by unaffordable private sector rents and calling on the government to set up a Living Rent Commission
3) Writing to the government with a call for 3-5 year tenancies
4) Looking at developing ethical lettings agencies and supporting the expansion of the existing one at Sussex University
5) Looking at setting up an ethical landlord accreditation
6) Supporting the building of homes at a living rent rate so that affordability is based on peoples incomes not the market rate
The two most heartening aspects of the night were the strong support from the Greens and Labour councillors and most crucially the recognition that rents should be linked to affordability based on wages not market forces in a "market" where the existing regulation is stacked in favour of the landlord.
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