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
Link here to 'An Introduction to London Tenants Federation'