London Tenants Federation

Providing a strong representative voice for social housing tenants in London

London Tenants Federation (LTF) aims to provide a strong consensus voice for social housing tenants in London. The London Mayor has wide powers around housing and planning in London - producing statutory housing and planning policy. We need a strong representative voice to respond and engage with this. We bring together borough- and London-wide representative social housing tenants organisations. We work in partnership with London Federation of Housing Co-ops and the National Federation of TMOs (including in organising joint London-wide conferences) and plan to continue to forge increasingly strong links with them. Our focus is on London-wide housing policy and the way in which national housing policy impacts on London with its extremes in terms of housing costs.

We argue that London social housing tenants' voices must be heard, locally, borough- or landlord wide, London-wide and nationally. We make the case for tenant engagement to be participatory, democratic and accountable, through elected tenants associations / groups and through having forums for tenant representatives to come together to share and exchange and formally engage with social landlords, the Mayors office and government. Increasingly, social landlords of all types are instead selecting tenants who, even where they wish to, have no remit to couch the views of others or to feed back to them, to be on landlord boards or scrutiny panels as their main way of involving tenants in decision-making about our homes. We feel this leaves most tenants isolated, disengaged and disempowered. We have seen the worst case scenario and the most horrendous consequences of this in the Grenfell tower disaster. Policy and procedures around tenant engagement / involvement must change to avoid anything like this occurring again and to ensure effective ways of managing and maintaining our homes.

We make the case that year after year a tiny percentage of the social-rented homes needed in London are built, leaving ever increasing numbers of lower income households homeless, living in overcrowded homes, in private rented homes with rents way above their means and / or being forced out of London - to make way for wealthier households. The authorities all know this and produce studies year after year to provide the evidence, yet even the land our homes sit on is increasingly seen for its potential to build more over-priced, luxury homes. The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan talks of delivering 'affordable' and 'genuinely affordable' housing, but the truth is very little of this is available or accessible to households with below the median (mid point) household income level in London. In reality the majority are targeted at middle and high income households, some in the top 10%, who are being subsidised by taxpayers with considerably lower incomes.

We challenge the negative stereotyping of social housing and of those of us who live in social housing. Social housing tenants are often depicted as scroungers on the state, while, in fact the tax payer subsidises private / market housing to the tune of at least four times the amount it does for low-cost social-rented homes. Private rents (portrayed as the norm) are only so expensive because private landlords are making a significant profit from them. Building not-for profit social-rented homes is the only way to provide secure low-cost rented homes, through which the bottom half of Londoners (by income) might safely put down roots, raise their families, engage in supporting their community and gradually grow old in; the basis for building strong, lifetime communities.

LTF has long argued the case against needless demolition of social-rented homes. At a time when virtually no new social-rented homes being built in London, it is inexcusable that desperately needed social-rented homes are being demolished in 'estate regeneration schemes'. Tenants and leaseholders often don't get housed in any new homes developed in these schemes and often they have to move a long way from friends and family networks.

We have charitable objectives and are not affiliated to any political party. Social housing tenants (as with households of other forms of tenure) have a wide range of different political views and opinions. Our focus is on the collective needs of existing and would-be social housing tenants, the condition of our homes and the ways in which we might make our voices heard at all levels of decision-making, regardless of individual political views. We have no desire to alienate any tenants as a result of party political affiliations.

Some of the things we do: LTF

  • tries to influence and challenge London housing and planning policy (which the boroughs are required to conform to locally);
  • responds to London-wide and national consultations We draw together grass-roots knowledge, understanding, issues and concerns to inform our consultation responses. We often produce model responses that our member organisations, affiliate member TRAs and individual tenants might submit and amend to express their own concerns - in an attempt to increase the number of responses submitted;
  • draws together our 'policy positions', based on consensus amongst our member organisations, which we review every two years;
  • produces policy briefings and updates for our members, associate members and others who may be interested to inform them of policy changes (see our information page);
  • writes and distributes e-bulletins and newsletters when we have the resources to do so;
  • puts together booklets on key issues for social-housing tenants, such as 'problems with private contractors' or 'holding onto the homes we have now and why' for tenants' associations / groups working at the local level (see more on our information page);
  • analyses evidence of net delivery of different types of homes in London (taking into account the number of new homes that are replacements for others that have been demolished), such as our 10-year analysis (2005 - 15). This shows the extreme failures to deliver homes that meet the needs of households with below median income levels in London;
  • links with other voluntary and community sector groups, particularly those that have an interest in housing;
  • has membership of sub-groups established by the Mayor’s office that relate to housing and planning policy;
  • provides mutual support in giving grass roots evidence to London Assembly Housing and Planning committee meetings and at public examinations of the Mayor's London Plan. Links to webcasts of recent London Housing Committee meetings that our delegates or members have been invited to speak at - 8th November (LTF delegate invited) and 5th October (rep from LTF members - London Fed of Housing Co-ops);
  • encourages development of strong borough- and landlord-wide tenants’ federations and organisations. Our role is to bring those federations and organisations together to formulate consensus views to make the strongest possible voice for tenants at the London-wide level. We do not see it appropriate (and don’t have the funding) to carry out specific work locally unless funded through specific LTF project work;
  • encourages social housing (council or housing association) Tenants and Residents Associations, Tenant Management Organisations and Co-operatives to become LTF ASSOCIATE MEMBERS (please go to our ‘about us page for more information).

Link here to 'An Introduction to London Tenants Federation'