NEWS AND UPDATES ON LTF PRIORITIES
Fundraising and future work
LTF has recently been successful in gaining funding from Trust for London to support three years work. We are in the process of applying for some match funding.
With our new funding (from March this year), we will work to:
We will also be working with Professor Loretta Lees on work relating to displacement of social ho suing tenants in estate regeneration schemes during 2018 (see section below on demolition of social rented homes)..
London-wide policy work
When a new London Mayor is elected there is a process of statutory London-wide policy being changed. LTF is most interested in the London Housing Strategy and the London Plan (which contains planning policy on housing and regeneration) and London Plan supplementary planning guidance. We feel it important that we try to influence this as all London boroughs have to conform to London-wide policy, so this effects us locally.
Over the last 18 months LTF has responded to a number of the consultations on Sadiq Khan’s new and emerging policy after holding meetings and events to discuss them. These are listed below with the most recent first.
Fire risk and involvement of tenants in decision-making about their homes post the Greenfield Tower blaze
London Tenants Federation is calling for policy changes around the way that tenants are involved in decisions made about our homes, following the Grenfell tower blaze. Current tenant involvement practices, frequently entail landlord selection and 'training' of individual tenants who have no remit to couch the views of other tenants, nor facility to feed back to them to sit on boards and panels, to support landlord management needs. This has left vast numbers of social-tenants feeling increasingly isolated and made it harder for us to get our collective voices heard.
Most social housing tenants in London live in blocks of flats or estates and experience similar blocks or estate problems; some landlord wide. Without wider representative input, we are much weaker and more vulnerable, as the Grenfell tower example has clearly demonstrated.
We are seeing more and more social landlords dissolving independent tenants’ organisations with them and their often highly paid consultants suggesting that landlord selection of tenants to engage with is more 'fit for purpose'. Since landlord ‘tenant involvement’ is, however, paid for through our rents, we feel it is essential that this operates in a way that is determined by tenants wants and needs in a participatory, democratic and accountable fashion.
We also want commitments from Government, the Mayor’s office and social landlords that social-housing tenant representatives are actively involved in any reviews of fire risk issues. We note that the London Mayor has made some proposals in his draft London Housing Strategy relating to fire risk, but has failed to ensure that these are informed through thorough engagement with tenants. In our response to the draft London Housing Strategy we have made proposals that the Mayor encourage social landlords to establish participatory, democratic and accountable tenants’ groups and facilitate ways for them to network. We also suggested that he might provide a good example to social landlords by enabling direct engagement of tenants and other community and voluntary sector groups involved in housing being regularly involved in developing and monitoring the London Housing Strategy.
LTF has made links with the reformed national tower block network and are encouraging tower block tenants to engage with them. They spoke and facilitated a workshop at our October 2017 joint conference with the London Federation of Housing Co-ops and the National Federation of TMOs. We hope to form stronger links with them.
Analysis of delivery of homes in London (2005-15)
Many analyses of delivery of social rented homes fail to take into account how many news homes that have been built are simply replacements for others that have been demolished. Clearly this is important to know how well any assessed need of people who are homeless or who have languished for years on housing waiting lists is being catered for.
Demolition of social-rented homes
Since 1997 54,263 social-rented homes have been demolished and only 27,058 replaced. A conservative estimate is that 135,658 council tenants and leaseholders have been/are being displaced as a result (assess ed via analysis carried out as part of Professor Loretta Lees Economic and Social Research Council funded research on Gentrification, Displacement, and the Impacts of Council Estate Renewal in C21st London. London Tenants Federation and Just Space are working with Loretta Lees on this project.