London,
25
March
2014
|
17:17
Europe/London

London boroughs vow to continue to fight for affordable rents

London boroughs are set to continue their fight for lower rents in new, affordable housing - despite a High Court judge today dismissing their challenge against the Mayor of London’s plans.

Hackney, Islington, Camden, Brent, Enfield, Greenwich, Lambeth, Southwark, and Tower Hamlets councils had challenged the Mayor's plan for 'affordable' rents in new housing to be set at up to 80 per cent of the market rate.

The nine councils argued that they should be allowed to set lower rentlimits in new affordable housing. Until now, councils have been able to insist on social rents that are typically around 30-40 percent of market level in inner London.

In a judgment handed down today (25 March) the Honourable Mrs JusticeLang DBE said that "all parties agree that more affordable rented housing is needed in London, at levels below 80 percent of market value, but they disagree about how best to realise this aim." She ruled that the Mayor had acted within his power, and that the Mayor's Plan leaves it open to boroughs to fight for lower rents on individual developments, particularly in developments that are not funded by the Mayor.

Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe said: "This is a very disappointing decision. Hackney Council joined the fight against higher rents because we believe that councils are best placed to assess local market rents and what residents on low incomes can afford. We also don't believe in a blanket redefinition of what is affordable social housing.

"Hackney is the country's third largest builder of affordable housing, and we want to make sure that local people can actually afford to live in affordable homes built in the future. The judge acknowledged that the Mayor of London's approach will price many local people out of Hackney."

This is a very disappointing decision. Hackney Council joined the fight against higher rents because we believe that councils are best placed to assess local market rents and what residents on low incomes can afford. We also don't believe in a blanket redefinition of what is affordable social housing.

Hackney is the country's third largest builder of affordable housing, and we want to make sure that local people can actually afford to live in affordable homes built in the future. The judge acknowledged that the Mayor of London's approach will price many local people out of Hackney."
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney

The Mayor of London's direction applies to new affordable housing built in London. Existing council tenancies and the majority of housingassociation tenancies are unaffected.