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Renters pay more than they can afford for bad service finds survey

PUBLISHED: 19:19 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 19:21 10 October 2016

More than half of Barnet and Camden renters have struggled to afford a rent rise in the past three years according to Sian Berry: Yui Mok/PA Wire

More than half of Barnet and Camden renters have struggled to afford a rent rise in the past three years according to Sian Berry: Yui Mok/PA Wire

PA Archive/Press Association Images

More than half of renters in Camden and Barnet have struggled to afford a rent rise in the past three years according to a survey.

TP Vox Pop Sian BerryTP Vox Pop Sian Berry

Figures from London Assembly member and Camden councillor Sian Berry showed that 54 per cent of renters in Barnet and Camden had found their rent pushed up to unaffordable levels since 2013.

The average rent paid by respondents to her Big Renters Survey living in the London Assembly local authority of Barnet and Camden was £980, equivalent to 47 per cent of their take home pay.

Just over a third of those who filled in the survey reported that they had experienced difficulty getting a deposit back in the past three years.

Despite high housing costs, 58 per cent of renters in the area said they had experienced difficulty getting repairs carried out, while 56 per cent were worried about complaining to landlords or letting agents.

Ben Felfeli of CH Peppiatt in Chalk Farm, said: “Some landlords instruct letting agents because they know they can say to the agent ‘I’m not paying for it’ and we have to tell the tenant.

“There should be something to say that up to a certain point landlords must make these repairs happen and lettings agents shouldn’t work with landlords who act like that either.

“That collective action can only be taken by a governing body but I’m all for it.

“Anyone who buys a property needs to take responsibility and make sure it’s fit for a human being to live in, especially at the rents people are paying. People are a bit bitter and I don’t blame them.”

In response to the report Berry recommended the introduction of central support for renters in London. She also called for more powers related to housing to be devolved to London.

The Green party politician, who rents privately in Tufnell Park, said: “As a renter in London for nearly 20 years, it’s important to me that I keep bringing the voices of London’s 2.3 million private renters into City Hall. In this report I’m recommending that the Mayor stands up for London’s private renters and support them in standing up for themselves.

“The willingness of renters to pay a small fee to join a renters’ organisation is very significant, as it means such a group could become self-sustaining once it has been set up. The Mayor should look seriously at providing practical help such as office space and seed funding to help found an independent London-wide organisation to represent renters in our city.”

The survey was completed by 1,530 people across London.

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