Influential Guardian writer, Dave Hill, has praised Islington Council as being “considered by many to be the capital’s most radical local authority” in tackling the housing crisis facing London.
Writing earlier this week, Mr Hill identified how Islington Council, “is fostering support for intensified council house building by using its local lettings policy to ensure that local people benefit. It is also succeeding in avoiding introducing new, higher “affordable rent” levels brought in by the government, and proposing to use planning policy to impose penalties on ‘buy-to-leave’ owners.”
Three years ago, Islington became the first council to reject the government’s plans to raise so-called ‘affordable rents’ to near-market level.
Since taking power in 2010, the council has been building new council homes as part of the biggest affordable homebuilding programme for a generation.
Earlier this year, Islington became the first local authority to announce plans to tackle the scandal of ‘buy-to-leave’ – where predominately-overseas investors buy properties and never occupy them, simply to benefit from ever-rising property prices.
The Council has also taken enforcement action against private landlords who are letting out homes that are unacceptably small for people to live in, and that often flout planning rules.
Cllr James Murray (pictured), Executive Member for Housing & Development, said: “We desperately need more genuinely-affordable homes in London. That’s why we’re building a new generation of council homes in Islington and why we are robust in demanding that new ‘affordable’ homes are for social rents that people can actually afford.
“The housing crisis in London is hitting people across the board.
“We’re helping private renters too by going after rogue landlords and setting up a new council-run lettings agency. We’re also are taking on buy-to-leave investors with a bold new planning policy, since it’s an insult to the housing crisis when new homes are snapped up and left empty.
“Londoners need radical solutions to the housing crisis. We need national change and a Mayor who understands the problem, and in Islington we are showing we can make a difference