Thursday, 05 March 2015

Islington Council leader demands evidence to show rents are falling

Shapps challenged to prove rent claim

The leader of Islington Council has challenged housing minister Grant Shapps over his latest claim this week that private rents are falling.

At a meeting with officials from the Communities and Local Government department on Tuesday, Catherine West asked to be provided with statistics to prove Mr Shapps’ assertion that real-term (including inflation) rents were coming down.

Ms West cited a recent report from homelessness charity Shelter that showed private rented accommodation in Labour-run Islington had risen by between 9 per cent and 11 per cent in 2011. She was responding to comments made by Mr Shapps on Radio 4’s Today programme during a debate with Sir Robin Wales over Newham Council’s plans to house people on its housing waiting list in Stoke-on-Trent because of spiralling rents in London.

‘The evidence about this is just not there,’ said Ms West. Mr Shapps has previously used data from the English housing survey to show that rents had fallen in real terms from 2009/10 to 2010/11.

But the Shelter report, published last month, showed that private rents in London rose by 7 per cent last year - nearly twice the rate of inflation for wages in the capital.

A CLG spokesperson cited research from LSL property services that showed monthly average rent falls in London of 0.4 per cent and 0.3 per cent in February and March respectively. However, these came after an 8 per cent increase in January.

An Inside Housing investigation in February disproved claims made by prime minister David Cameron to parliament that rent levels were falling as a result of the government’s welfare reforms. Using freedom of information requests, it was shown that just 36 out of 204 English councils had seen any reductions at all.

Last week, a report from the National Landlords Association also found three quarters of private landlords had not been approached by councils over reducing rents.

Readers' comments (7)

  • The really important point here is that the Shelter research is based on official statistics published by the Valuation Office Agency, an arm of government.

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  • Ernie Gray

    And Mr Shapps will not evermention that and anyway after the 3rd May all will go quiet again..........................

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  • Chris

    I think I've been too harsh on Minister Shapps, after all, surely it is all the fault of his special advisor!

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  • He can prove it, the bloke with the pasty, who was filling his jerry can, told, it must be true.

    On a serious note, the private residents I work within the M25 haven't had their rent reduced......and home hunters are being asked for larger and larger 'holding' fees.

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  • Chris

    It would appear that yours is the common experience Nora - which beggars the question just where the government gets the impression to the contrary from.

    The next concern of course is that where, at the moment, housing may be a little more affordable away from the City, the ever increasing commuting cost (and lets face it, local wages and job opportunities are challenging) will be added to by the spiralling upwards of housing costs as more and more people join the refugee trail.

    That is why this policy is a disaster for all, whether city dwellers or not.

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  • If Shapps takes up the challenge the inevitable embarrassing splutter and waffle will make for controversial and amusing TV.

    I would suggest the fellow and his cronies can be likened to sea anemones whose one orifice ‘does all’. While there is little difference in which function they are actually utilising, the resultant effluence washes over all of us with the ebb and flow of the housing sector tide

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  • I think mr.shapp is not talkin.g to the right people who tennant who do pay rent. Does he know the private property owners do increase rent very year? my rent has been increased without any renovation or improvement being done to the property.why the increase can he tell me.It is very pathytic and a disgrace why these bosses don,t care a dame about the tennat.I hope they change the policy of yearly increase.

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