by Robbie Davidson, Tower Hamlets Socialist Party
Throughout my search for a home as a young person in London, I have faced a series of issues highlighting the dire state of the housing crisis. Licensing requirements for houses of multiple occupancy gave landlords excuses to bump up their rents, making a shared arrangement more difficult than ever.
And then, the amount we were expected to earn to lease a property was way over the ‘London living wage’. Rent was likely to take up 70-80% of my income each month, before utilities, travel expenses or food, over double the proportion advised as being ‘affordable’.
A council house wasn’t even worth considering due to the ridiculous size of the waiting list. This forced my group and I under the thumb of greedy individuals and agencies, who themselves are indebted to private banks. In the end, we were rejected by most liveable places, and the only options left were cramped attics far away from any real work opportunities.
The only conclusion I could come to about London’s housing crisis is that rents are being driven up by not only greed, but by the insecurity and fear of monopolisation in a highly strung market.
Council housing would provide a safe and affordable option for people like myself, starting off in the world of work, if only we could have access to it.
- Slash the rents — introduce rent controls now!
- Compulsory licensing of all landlords to ensure decent housing standards
- A mass programme of council home building. Councils should fight the cuts, by setting no-cuts, needs-based budgets as part of building a mass campaign for the funding they need
- Nationalise the large building companies, land and banks, under democratic workers’ control and public ownership, to ensure enough good-quality council housing and cheap mortgages
- For socialist planning to end the housing crisis and ensure a decent future for all!