Sadiq Khan takes aim at Boris over 'unrealistic' landlord scheme
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has continued his attacks on former incumbent Boris Johnson with today’s announcement that the former Mayor ignored warnings that his landlords accreditation scheme was ‘unrealistic’ and doomed from the start.
The London Rental Standard (LRS) was announced by Johnson in 2012 and set out to accredit 100,000 landlords in an attempt to raise standards and improve the quality of housing in London’s rented sector.
However, data released today by City Hall has shown that only 1,800 landlords have so far been accredited as part of the scheme, and that the former Mayor ignored repeated warnings that the programme was destined to fail from the very beginning.
Internal emails, published by the Mayor’s office, show City Hall officials warning that Johnson’s targets were so unrealistic that it would take ‘over 50 years’ for the 100,000 number to be met.
Meanwhile, another email from October 2012 warns that City Hall would be put at ‘unacceptable reputational risk’ due to its inability to properly enforce the LRS scheme.
Continuing his volley of attacks on the former mayor, Khan said: “We know most landlords do a good and decent job – but we’ve got to stop those rogue landlords who are exploiting renters.
“I’ve got plans to take them on, but it’s very disappointing that little or no progress was made under the previous Mayor. It seems that Boris Johnson was asleep at the wheel and ignored repeated warnings from officials that his plans were not working.”
Housing was a central plank of Khan’s election manifesto, with promises to increase the capital’s stock of affordable housing and improve standards in the private rented sector through the creation of a not-for-profit lettings agency.
Speaking about his plans for the private rented sector, the mayor added: “We can’t stand by as thousands of renters are suffering high costs and low standards in London.
“That’s why I will make sure we build thousands of new affordable homes to both buy and rent, promote landlord licensing schemes across London, and ‘name and shame’ the rogue landlords who are letting Londoners down.”
Today’s pointed criticisms serve a double purpose of impressing the new mayor’s housing credentials, which have been shaken in recent weeks with question marks over his affordable housing targets, and undermining the credibility of Johnson as we close in on June’s EU referendum.