HUNDREDS of thousands of new homes and a “renters’ union” sponsored by City Hall were some of the promises made yesterday by the Greens’ London mayoral candidate Sian Berry.
The Camden councillor unveiled her mayoral manifesto as she focused on the capital’s housing and livingcost woes.
Her pledges included building 200,000 homes, funding tenants’ groups to start a London renters’ union and a halt to the demolitions of council estates across London.
Ms Berry said the move was part of the Greens’ vision to “put fairness at the heart of all our policies.”
London’s success, she added, would come through “building more homes with co-operative and smaller companies, not big developers, funding experts to help communities defend their estates, and helping private tenants with rent controls and a renters’ union so they can organise and stand together.”
Rogue landlords would be placed on a blacklist and all those renting property would be placed on a London-wide landlord register, working under licence and needing prior accreditation.
Renters Rights London confirmed that its campaigners had advised Ms Berry as she worked on the idea of a renters’ union but still found some drawbacks in the policy.
Spokeswoman Rosie Walker told the Star that private renters have much less bargaining power than a union as most will have different landlords.
“Rent strikes can only work if you all have the same landlord, and even then you will almost certainly be evicted because the law offers no protection in this scenario,” she said.
“So the best way a renters’ union could work is as a legal fund to allow more renters to take their landlords to court.
“Part of the reason landlords get away with harassment, trespassing and low standards of housing is because private renters can’t afford court costs and can’t always represent themselves in court.”
The Green manifesto also pledged to push for all the capital’s low-paid workers to be employed on the London living wage, currently £9.40 an hour.
As for public transport, Ms Berry promised to introduce lower fares for outer London, abolish fare zones by 2025 and bring in a new ticket including interchange between buses, underground and trains at no extra cost.